Photo: Carlos Avila Gonzalez, The Chronicle
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In a press conference after the Warriors beat the Houston Rockets 104-100 in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals, Rockets guard James Harden complained that the refs were not giving him a fair shake.
“I just want a fair chance man. Call the game how it is supposed to be called and I’ll live with the results,” Harden said.
Throughout the game, basketball fans, game announcers and even Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni noticed that Klay Thompson and other Warriors were stepping under Harden after throwing up their hands to contest his 3-point shots.
“They came at halftime and said they missed it. That’s what they told me,” D’Antoni said during the postgame press conference. “They missed four of them. That’s 12 foul shots.”
Warriors forward Draymond Green responded to Harden’s complaints in the postgame press conference. “I’ve been fouled by James (Harden) on a James 3-pointer before,” he said. “I ain’t trying to hear that.”
Despite all of the potentially missed calls, Harden led the Rockets in scoring with 35 points against the Warriors. Still, a lot of people were wondering what the refs were thinking in how they officiated the Warriors’ defensive tactic against Harden’s 3-point shooting.
“The question is, did the league office issue an edict “not to fall for Harden creating contact on his threes” or did the three refs decide on their own to bend a clear rule?” asked sports columnist Peter Vecsey on Twitter after the game.
Ironically, the rule that Vecsey was referring to is unofficially referred to as the Zaza Rule, which concerns reckless closeouts by defensive players. It’s named the Zaza Rule because it was created after the Warriors’ Zaza Pachulia injured Kawhi Leonard during Game 1 of the 2017 Western Conference Finals while closing out on him on defense.
The Warriors-Rockets continue their best-of-7 series on Tuesday, April 30 at Oracle Arena.
This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/warriors/article/James-Harden-refs-Game-1-Warriors-Rockets-closeout-13802431.php.