Like him or loathe him, it is hard to keep Brooklyn Nets star James Harden out of the headlines this season in the NBA. Just a few weeks after his explosive move to the Nets from the Houston Rockets, Harden is once again in the headlines.
In last night’s key game between two genuine NBA Championship contenders, he Brooklyn Nets and the Los Angeles Clippers, Harden was involved in an incident late in the game which was key in swinging the game in favour of the Nets.
Kawhi was called for an offensive foul on Harden: pic.twitter.com/3TyukEZSzH
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) February 22, 2021
As Clippers Kawhi Leonard raced towards the net for a potential game tying score, he contacted Harden with his arm. The Nets forward then, somewhat exaggerated the level of contact, falling backwards off court with his arms outspread and head tilted back.
The officials called a foul, on Leonard, ruling out the tying score with just ten seconds or so left on the clock. The decision handed the ball to the Nets, who duly added a further two points to secure the 11-2-108 victory.
Twitter Reaction To Harden Foul
The decision certainly was a controversial one and provoked a heated reaction on social media.
WHAT A TERRIBLE CALL ON KAWHI. THAT WAS NOT EVEN CLOSE TO A PUSHOFF FOUL. THAT WAS AN AND-ONE FOUL ON HARDEN WITH A FREE THROW TO WIN THE GAME. CLIPPERS SHOULD’VE WON THAT GAME.
— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) February 22, 2021
As you can see, Clippers fans were adamant that the foul should have been called on Harden and the two point score allowed to stand. This would have not only tied the game, but handed the Clippers a free throw to take the lead with ten seconds remaining.
And one fan regretted his tongue in cheek Tweet instantly, when Harden hit 37 points, 11 rebounds and 7 assists in the Nets victory:
If Kyrie or Harden scores over 36 points vs Clippers, I will buy a person who likes this tweet a PS5. Must be following pic.twitter.com/Agx6gtOjC9
— Uncle Drew. (@UncleDrewGB) February 22, 2021
High Quality Encounter Between Two Class Teams
The controversial end to the game somewhat overshadowed what was a high-quality encounter between two of the best teams in the NBA at the moment.
With Joe Durant injured, Kyrie Irving and Harden were the bedrock of the Nets victory with Irving contributing 28 points alongside Harden’s 37.
The Clippers had their own high scoring duo in Paul George who hit 34 points and Kawhi Leonard, who hit 29 points despite having the game tying score ruled out.
However, it was the quality of passing and interplay between the teams, not to mention some top quality defending, that ensured that this was one of the best encounters of the season so far and one that Nets fans can take great confidence from.
One Game Behind The 76ers
The win for the Nets (20-12) moved them to just one game behind the Philadelphia 76ers (20-11) in the Eastern Conference and they are now clear of the Milwaukee Bucks (18-13) in third. It was the Nets sixth straight win.
The Clippers defeat sees them move to 22-10 in the Western Conference and they dropped behind the Los Angeles Lakers (22-9) and the table topping Utah Jazz (24-6). However, the Phoenix Suns (19-10) do have three games in hand on the Clippers and could at least match their record if they were to win all three of them.
The Nets are next in action on Tuesday against the Sacramento Kings (12-18), while the Clippers should get back to winning ways the same night when they take on the 10-17 Washington Wizards.
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