On Monday, the Houston Rockets emerged victorious against the Utah Jazz in a thrilling matchup that went down to the wire. In the final minute of the game, the referees appeared to have missed a traveling call on Rockets star James Harden, which turned out to be a crucial play in the tightly contested game.
Following his team's 102-97 win, Harden was asked about the controversial play in his postgame interview. The reigning MVP did not seem too pleased with the question and retorted with a bit of sarcasm:
“What do you want me to say? Tell on myself?” asked Harden, via Kirstie Chiappelli of Sporting News.
Here's a look at the play in question, which obviously worked in the favor of Harden and the Rockets, as he was awarded three free throws for an alleged foul on Jazz guard Ricky Rubio:
This James Harden play is causing a lot of controversy on NBA Twitter … pic.twitter.com/SLlEi3az8S
— 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐒𝐩𝐨𝐫𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐍𝐞𝐰𝐬 (@sportingnews) December 18, 2018
Rubio was understandably upset about the missed call, but chose to somewhat keep his discontent to himself:
Ricky Rubio on the Harden stepback++:
Rubio: "You watch the play?"
Rubio: "What do you think?"
Me: "I personally thought it was a travel."
Rubio: "I'm not going to answer, but I think 100 percent of the people know the answer."
— Andy Larsen (@andyblarsen) December 18, 2018
While Harden does have a point here, he has done nothing to help his cause with game officials. The 6-foot-5 combo guard is notorious for taking extra steps on some of his moves, which at times escape the watchful eyes of referees. However, his comments here may have just given them the extra motivation they need to pay extra attention to Harden and his footwork.
Harden was in MVP form on Monday, dropping a game-high 47 points (on 14-of-31 from the field and 15-of-16 from the line), along with four 3-pointers, six rebounds, five assists, five steals, and five turnovers in 41 minutes of action.