Last night it was the first game of the Western Conference Semifinals between Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets. These two teams have met last year in the Conference Finals and it was a crazy battle. In the end, Steve Kerr’s team won but after a game in which the opponents missed 27 straight three-pointers.
After that matchup, everybody expected these two camps to fight with each other once again in the playoffs. They both did their jobs in the first round so the duel was finally here. The first match was very intense and both sides committed a lot of mistakes. Also, the players and the coaches complained a lot to the referees. In the end, Golden State Warriors won with the score of 104-100 and took a 1-0 lead in the series.
However, during and after the game the Rockets’ players felt like they were cheated by the referees. James Harden thought he was fouled on many occasions and Mike D’Antoni believed that he and Chris Paul shouldn’t have received any technicals. They are partially right. On some shots, James Harden was fouled but, in my opinion, this is only their fault.
Let me explain. During the regular season, James Harden received a lot of fouls that were inexistent. He and Chris Paul became experts at selling the foul and there were a lot of complaints from the opponents. The league took notice and the referees started to pay more attention to James Harden. They became more aware of the ability of The Beard to sell the foul so they haven’t made the calls so much in the past month.
It’s really interesting how a thing that seemed excellent for Harden and the Rockets turned out to be something really bad in the playoffs. He hasn’t been shooting very well lately and considering the fact that the referees aren’t calling the fouls so much, his numbers decreased.
If you pay attention to some of the plays in the game against the Warriors, James Harden and Chris Paul threw their legs in front of them in order to obtain a foul. I agree that there were some moments in which they jumped vertically and Klay Thompson or Steph Curry jumped closer to them. This should be called a foul but the refs just got tired of Harden’s stepbacks so they aren’t calling so easily anymore.
This thing will definitely frustrate the Rockets’ members so it will be interesting to see how they react. Before anything, they should understand that shooting 47 three-pointers is not the way. James Harden is an amazing one-on-one player so instead of forcing shots he should try to get inside the paint and shoot, get the foul, or pass it to a free teammate.
Don’t forget: This three-point frenzy started with Golden State Warriors and Steph Curry but they understood that this is not their main weapon. Therefore they take more smart decision and open shots and they are three-time champions in the last four years.