James Harden had an important influence at each ends of the court docket on Sunday evening because the Brooklyn Nets defeated the Los Angeles Clippers 112-108 to increase their successful streak to 6 video games.
Harden completed with 37 factors, 11 rebounds and 7 assists because the Nets gained a fifth consecutive sport on the street, regardless of lacking Kevin Durant once more.
Harden’s offensive heroics had been overshadowed by his defensive contribution. Specifically, the offensive foul that the eight-time All Star drew from Kawhi Leonard to seal the sport for Brooklyn.
Down by two factors and with 11 seconds left, the Clippers inbounded the ball to Leonard, who drove previous Harden and tied the sport at 110-110 with a easy layup. The referees, nevertheless, had a special view and penalized the Clippers star for an offensive foul after Harden quite theatrically hit the ground.
While Leonard stretched his left arm to make his well beyond Harden, the Nets guard appeared to carry him as he took a step in the direction of the lane.
The Clippers could have challenged, had they not used their solely problem on an analogous name in opposition to Patrick Beverley, which was unsuccessful.
“You know, my take from it’s if we gonna just about play bull ball on the finish of the sport, let each side play it,” mentioned Leonard—in response to the one query he took within the post-game press convention earlier than leaving the media room.
“But they did not name it, so good protection. I bought grabbed early however, like I mentioned, no name, so nice protection.”
Clippers coach Tyronn Lue was extra philosophical. “I imply, they referred to as it [offensive foul] so there’s nothing you are able to do about it now,” he mentioned.
“I’m not an enormous complain man however some man mentioned he had his arm earlier than Kawhi was in a position to push off and he mentioned Harden grabbed his—I do not know as a result of I did not take a look at it. To me the sport’s over and nothing you are able to do about it, so it’s what it’s.”
While Lue remained calm, the referees’ resolution drew scathing criticism on social media.
“What a horrible name on Kawhi. That was not even near a push-off foul,” tweeted Fox Sports 1 host Skip Bayless.
“That was an and-one foul on Harden with a free throw to win the sport. Clippers ought to’ve gained that sport.”
WHAT A TERRIBLE CALL ON KAWHI. THAT WAS NOT EVEN CLOSE TO A PUSHOFF FOUL. THAT WAS AN AND-ONE FOUL ON HARDEN WITH A FREE THROW TO WIN THE GAME. CLIPPERS SHOULD’VE WON THAT GAME.
— Skip Bayless (@ActualSkipBayless) February 22, 2021
Harden, Bayless added later, “will get extra calls than any participant ever.”
NBA analyst Nate Duncan struck an analogous tone. “That’s a completely depressing name on Kawhi,” he wrote.
That’s a completely depressing name on Kawhi. Kawhi already has him beat there, Harden fouls him first, has no alternative however to flop, and refs bail him out.
— Nate Duncan (@NateDuncanNBA) February 22, 2021
“Kawhi already has him beat there, Harden fouls him first, has no alternative however to flop, and refs bail him out.”
Elsewhere on social media, Harden’s transfer prompted the standard flurry of memes.
The controversial name took the highlight away from another superb performance by Harden, who recorded his second double-double with a minimum of 35 factors within the final three video games. He now has 77 35-point double-doubles in his profession, one quick of LeBron James’ record among active players.
Since moving to Brooklyn in a blockbuster trade last month, Harden has thrived as a facilitator on offense whereas persevering with to be a prolific scorer. The three-time NBA scoring chief is averaging 25.5 factors, 11.2 assists and eight.8 rebounds per sport this month, in contrast with 21.6 factors, 11.1 assists and 6.7 rebounds in his final 5 video games for the Houston Rockets.
The Nets have now defeated Western Conference groups in eight consecutive video games and improved Brooklyn’s file to 20-12, 0.5 behind Eastern Conference leaders the Philadelphia 76ers.
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