NBA

Harden frustrated by lack of consistency from officials in Nets' loss to Timberwolves

By Sports Desk January 24, 2022

James Harden hit out at what he perceives to be a lack of consistency from the officials following the Brooklyn Nets' 136-125 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The nine-time NBA All-Star endured a frustrating time at Target Center as he got to the line only four times and scored 13 points.

Only once this season, against the Phoenix Suns in November (12), has Harden – who shot four-of-13 – ended a game with fewer points.

But Harden feels as though he has been on the end of some tough treatment from referees.

"I don't know. I don't even want to talk about it," he told reporters. "But it's definitely – when I get to the basket, it's the same calls the guys are getting. 

"Obviously, you can't call all of them. But there's ones where there's clearly stiff-arms and trips and things like that. On the other end, there's no consistency. So it's frustrating."

Asked what explanation he has had regarding certain calls going against him, Harden said: "Nothing. Honestly, nothing. 

"Like [officials say], 'I didn't see it,' or 'I didn't think it was a foul.' But it's clear. It's extremely clear. I don't want to talk about it. I just got to keep going. It's not going to stop me. 

"I'll keep on going to the basket, keep being aggressive and keep making plays for my team."

The Timberwolves were awarded 31 free throw attempts compared to 15 for the Nets, who had 29 personal fouls called against them compared to 17 for their opponents.

Nets Head coach Steve Nash echoed Harden's complaints as he also took aim at the officials.

"I think there's nights where it's fair, and even including the points of emphasis this year," Nash said. "Then there's other nights where it feels like he gets targeted a little bit. 

"It just automatically gets lumped into that point of emphasis where he is creating the foul, which is not always the case at all."

NBA officials have clamped down on offensive players who attempt to create contact and draw fouls from opponents, which Nash claims Harden has become the biggest victim of.

"I think it's been well-documented that he's a poster child," Nash said. "I think the start of the year was rough – they were really trying to correct the point of emphasis. 

"I think they overcorrected. Now we [have] come back to the middle, but tonight was one of those nights where I felt like some of the calls that should go his way didn't."

The Nets allowed 30 points in every quarter for the second time in 10 days, when losing 130-109 to Oklahoma City, as they fell behind the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference.

Harden's treatment was the big talking point from the Timberwolves loss, but Kyrie Irving backed his team-mate to adapt.

"I think teams have made adjustments, the referees have made adjustments, and now we have to make adjustments," said Irving, who led the Nets with 30 points.

"He goes to the paint aggressively and we want him to continue doing that. He's going to be James. We know who James is – we know he's going to be himself.

"But the whistle can go either way night to night. And depending on the [officiating] crew we have, I think that also has an effect on it.

"We just want to start off the game with a consistent whistle. And when he's going in there and he's creating some contact, we feel like he deserves that respect."

Related items

  • Nuggets chief Malone hails match-winner Murray's 'complete game' after win in Portland Nuggets chief Malone hails match-winner Murray's 'complete game' after win in Portland

    Jamal Murray earned plaudits for his "complete basketball game" after hitting the last-gasp three-pointer that earned the Denver Nuggets a 121-120 win over the Portland Trail Blazers.

    The impressive road win saw the Nuggets improve to 15-10 for the season and halt a streak of three defeats.

    Murray's step-back game-winner came with less than a second remaining, capping a 21-point game, two nights after he shot just 2-of-11 from the field against the Dallas Mavericks.

    Reigning back-to-back MVP Nikola Jokic was also a force for the Nuggets with 33 points (14-of-25), 10 rebounds and nine assists, while Damian Lillard scored a game-high 40 points for Portland.

    Lillard put the home team two points ahead with a stunning three-pointer with nine seconds remaining, but Murray brought the late twist.

    Nuggets coach Michael Malone said: "It was great to see Jamal find his rhythm. Coming off a game against Dallas where I think he was really frustrated with his offense, not making shots the way he knows he's capable of making shots.

    "I started him in that fourth quarter, and I was planning on taking him out to bring him back, but once Jamal sees the ball go in it doesn't take many for him to catch fire, and he ran the whole fourth quarter, obviously. [He had] 21 points, eight assists, only two turnovers, five rebounds – a complete basketball game.

    "It was an understatement to say a much-needed win after losing three in a row. I thought our fourth-quarter defense was outstanding, 21 points allowed. As I told our players, when we don't turn the ball over and we defend, we're a really good team. Now the challenge is to do that a lot more consistently. A lot of guys stepped up and played well."

    DeAndre Jordan played the 1,000th game of his NBA career, and Malone paid tribute to that achievement, saying of the 34-year-old center: "I'm really thankful that he's here and a part of our family."

    Murray, meanwhile, felt the Trail Blazers, who dominated the third quarter 35-26, were brilliantly reined in by the Nuggets in the closing stages.

    He told Altitude TV: "They came out hot in the second half, but we knew if we wanted to win the game we had to play defense together as a unit, especially with this crowd, so I think we did a good job of that.

    "Dame got hot. It was our defense down the stretch. We were able to stay together, keep our unit together and get some stops down the stretch.

    "We know they're going to make shots, especially on their home floor. We couldn't get down on ourselves and keep that negative energy. Go to the next play and figure it out."

  • Adebayo backs Heat to scrap their way out of early season 'hole' Adebayo backs Heat to scrap their way out of early season 'hole'

    Bam Adebayo said the Miami Heat were determined to "dig ourselves out of a hole" after his starring role lit up a 115-110 win against the Los Angeles Clippers.

    The Heat center put in a dominant 31-point performance in Thursday's success that followed two defeats in a row for Miami, who are 12-14 for the season and 10th in the Eastern Conference.

    As they look to put together a run of healthy results, Adebayo said it would need to be a collective effort by the team to achieve their goals.

    He told Bally Sports in an on-court interview: "We're trying to dig ourselves out of a hole. The biggest thing is we stand connected, stand together, and we keep waking up trying. We wake up and try to find solutions every day."

    Adebayo weighed in with 10 rebounds and four assists, shooting 14-of-21 from the field, while the Heat got the job done from 87-84 behind going into the fourth quarter.

    After failing to reach the 30-point mark in each of his first 13 games this season, Adebayo has now reached that figure in four of his past 11 outings, raising his season average to a career-high 21.2 points per game.

    The 25-year-old said: "My team-mates want me to be assertive. They want me to look for my shots. They're finding me in the pocket. The biggest thing I can do is keep shooting."

    Asked about the key to seeing out victory over the Clippers, who sit ninth in the Western Conference, gave credit to Jimmy Butler, who made 10 of his 12 field attempts on his way to 26 points, eight assists, five rebounds and four steals.

    "We gave Jimmy the ball," said Adebayo. "He's our closer, so we let him do his thing down the stretch."

  • Adebayo dominates the Clippers in the paint, Jokic's Nuggets prove too much for 'Dame Time' Adebayo dominates the Clippers in the paint, Jokic's Nuggets prove too much for 'Dame Time'

    Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo did not attempt a single shot from outside the key on his way to a dominant 31-point performance in Thursday's 115-110 win against the Los Angeles Clippers.

    Adebayo also added 10 rebounds (four offensive) and four assists, shooting 14-of-21 from the field in a tremendously efficient outing as the Clippers' interior defense had no answers.

    After failing to reach the 30-point mark in each of his first 13 games this season, Adebayo has now eclipsed the figure in four of his past 11 fixtures, raising his season average to a career-high 20.7 points per game.

    He was supported in style by Jimmy Butler, who hit 10 of his 12 field goal attempts for a terrific game in his own right, posting 26 points, eight assists, five rebounds and four steals.

    Paul George led the way for the Clippers, and was the only reason they were able to keep things close on the road while Kawhi Leonard was out for a scheduled rest day, scoring a team-high 29 points (10-of-20 shooting) with eight rebounds and seven assists.

    The victory for the Heat snaps a two-game losing streak and pulls their record back to 12-14, leaving them 10th in the Eastern Conference, while the Clippers are ninth in the West at 14-13.

    Johnson and the Spurs win all-Texas showdown

    The San Antonio Spurs received standout performances from Keldon Johnson and Tre Jones to defeat in-state rivals the Houston Rockets 118-109.

    Johnson finished one point off his season-high with 32 on 14-of-21 shooting, hitting half of his six three-point attempts, while Jones' 26 points on 10-of-16 shooting was a new career-high.

    Despite the loss, it was a strong outing from this year's third overall pick in the NBA Draft, with Jabari Smith Jr scoring a career-high 23 points on nine-of-13 shooting. The six-foot-11, smooth-moving wing showed off his special shooting stroke, hitting four-of-seven from deep.

    'Dame Time' not enough against the Nuggets

    Damian Lillard scored 15 of his game-high 40 points in the final six minutes, but Jamal Murray had the last laugh as the Denver Nuggets outlasted the Portland Trail Blazers 121-120.

    Lillard, in his second game back from injury, looked back to his best late in the fourth quarter, hitting a contested step-back three with nine seconds on the clock to go up by two. He ended up shooting 12-of-22 for his 40 points and 12 assists, hitting at least nine three-pointers for the 10th time in his career.

    But Murray would hit his own step-back game-winner with less than a second remaining, putting a bow on his 21-point, eight-assist showing, while reigning back-to-back MVP Nikola Jokic was a force with 33 points (14-of-25), 10 rebounds and nine assists.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.