NBA Columnist: Harden's Gripes "Leave Bad Taste In My Mouth"

James Harden is a basketball genius, Reid Forgrave said, but him complaining about officiating is "like the boy who cried wolf"

Reiter Than You
April 30, 2019 - 9:36 am
James Harden Houston Rockets Golden State Warriors

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James Harden and the Houston Rockets aren’t happy. 

After losing to the Warriors in seven games in the Western Conference Finals last season – and dropping Game 1 of their second-round series Sunday – Houston hit the officiating (or lack thereof) hard. The Rockets felt the referees missed numerous fouls on Harden, who said he just wants “a fair chance.”

CBS Sports NBA columnist Reid Forgrave didn’t think these gripes were a good look – for Harden or Houston.

“There’s a lot of truth in what they said,” Forgrave said on Reiter Than You. “They probably should have won last year. They didn’t, but they probably should have. James Harden got fouled a whole bunch of times past the three-point line, and they weren’t called. . . . But it just felt like the boy who cried wolf.”

Harden attempted a league-high 858 free throws this season. Only two other players – Giannis Antetokounmpo and Joel Embiid – attempted at least 600 free throws, and neither reached the 700s.

“James Harden, part of his genius, part of his greatness, is he has hacked the system,” Forgrave said. “He has figured out a way to exploit the NBA’s rules to his benefit. I don’t fault him for it. I think it’s amazing. It’s basketball genius. And yet, when it goes against you and you are fouled and it’s not called on you – I thought the refs missed a large number of calls (in Game 1) against Harden. And yet, for him to complain about it? 

“A significant portion of his greatness is based off of manipulating the referees,” Forgrave continued. “The fact that he would get mad when it doesn’t go his way, it does leave a bad taste in my mouth. It does. And I am a James Harden fan. I’m not one of those people who says James Harden plays ugly basketball. I think he is literally a basketball genius, but it does leave a bad taste in my mouth.”

Click below to listen to Forgrave’s interview in its entirety.