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Rockets’ James Harden falls to the floor after Spurs’ DeMar DeRozan brushes his beard

James Harden, Rockets

Yes, James Harden embellished the contact on this turnaround jumper by DeMar DeRozan. Yes, the officials fell for the Houston Rockets superstar snapping his head back and falling to the floor as if he was performing some type of urgent limbo. And yes, Harden’s reputation as one of the league’s preeminent floppers precedes him.

Still, take a look at the second replay angle of the play in question below.

See DeRozan’s elbow brush against Harden’s beard? The extent of that contact is just enough to make it seem possible that the San Antonio Spurs star actually caught his Rockets counterpart right in the chin as he rose to shoot. Whether or not that level of contact is worthy of an offensive foul is a matter worth debate. But the notion that Harden flopped without being touched by DeRozan, spreading like wildfire all over the internet, is objectively false.

Unfortunately for the Spurs, Harden didn’t need to work the referees to lead his team to victory on Friday night. The reigning MVP continued making a strong case for another Maurice Podoloff Trophy against San Antonio, dropping 61 points on ridiculous efficiency of 19-of-34 from the field, 9-of-13 from beyond the arc, and 14-of-17 at the free throw line in his team’s 111-107 win.

The Spurs fell to eighth in the Western Conference with the loss, just one game back of the fifth-place Oklahoma City Thunder.