SportsPulse: With another NBA All-Star Game in the books, Trysta Krick and Jeff Zillgitt turn our attention to the playoff push down the stretch.
James Harden extended his streak of 30-point games Thursday night against the Lakers, but the Rockets collapsed in the second half – and Harden fouled out of a game for just the seventh time in his 10-year career. After the game, Harden blasted referee Scott Foster, who has a bit of a history with the Rockets.
Harden was whistled for three fouls in the first quarter, and later fouled out with three more fouls in the fourth as the Lakers were making a comeback. Kyle Kuzma and James each drew charges against Harden in the final three minutes of the game.
After the Lakers completed their comeback from a 19-point deficit to win 111-106, Harden argued after the game that Foster should be banned from calling Rockets games.
“Scott Foster, man. I never really talk about officiating or anything like that, but just rude and arrogant. I mean, you aren’t able to talk to him throughout the course of the game, and it’s like, how do you build that relationship with officials? And it’s not even that call. It’s just who he is on that floor.
…. In the Western Conference Finals I think he officiated a couple of our games – it’s just lingering. It has to be looked at….. For sure, it’s personal. For sure. I don’t think he should be able to even officiate our games anymore, honestly.”
The Rockets lost all three games that Foster officiated during the 2018 NBA playoffs, including Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals.
At the same time, many fans are pointing out the irony of Harden complaining about officiating, considering he’s shooting a league-high 11.4 free throws per game. The Rockets only took 15 free throws in total on Thursday to the Lakers’ 33 attempts.
Harden’s Rockets teammate Chris Paul called out Scott Foster in 2018, and said after Thursday’s game that he’s previously spoken to league officials about Foster.