Latest posts by Colton Jones (see all)
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About the only thing what went wrong for the Houston Rockets in their 120-88 demolition of the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday night was when James Harden landed on the left foot of Isaiah Thomas while shooting a 3-pointer in the second half at Quicken Loans Arena.
Harden, the leading scorer in the NBA and also third in assists, remained in the game and was heard saying he was “fine,” was aggravated by the fact a foul was not called, given the emphasis the league has put on defensive players allowing shooters a place to come down.
“That was a foul, that’s what it was,” Harden told reporters after the game. “Nobody said anything to me. I had to go over there and say something to (the referees). That’s one of the points of emphasis, protecting the shooter. There’s no way you can shoot a basketball and a guy lands under your feet; it has to be a foul.”
Spurs standout Kwahi Leonard was sidelined for the rest of the playoffs after landing on the foot of Golden State center Zaza Pachulia in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals last season.
That play prompted the NBA to emphasize protecting shooters this season, a point that has been dubbed, “The Zaza Rule.”
“I can’t hear ‘I missed that one,'” Harden, who finished with 16 points, six rebounds and nine assists in 31 minutes against the Cavaliers, said. “As we all know, injuries happen… serious injuries happen.”