Even Phil Jackson Thinks The Wizards Got Hosed by James Harden’s Flop vs Trevor Ariza
Getting hosed on a bad call is nothing new. The Wizards aren’t special. But a flopping call? The league is supposed to be looking out for flops. James Harden? He was the first NBA player fined for flopping this season. Something is more than not right.
Let’s go to the play in question. With four seconds left, the Wizards were up 112-110 and the Rockets had the ball. The usual arm locking and jostling seemed to take place between Trevor Ariza and James Harden as Houston was gearing up for an out of bounds play. What then happened can’t be made more clear by words than by watching: Harden locks his arm further into Ariza’s arm, and Harden throws his body back to draw a foul. He flops.
(FWIW, the D.C. Sports Bog’s Dan Steinberg wonders if it should have been a five-second call on the out of bounds play, too. Also, SBN’s Mike Prada wonders if Ariza should never have risked holding Harden’s arms at the onset of the play. Fair point, although I would call that “usual jostling” and consider the flop taking it to the next level.)
The Rockets were awarded a free throw and the ball since it was an ‘away-from-the-play’ foul—at least that’s what the official NBA.com box score calls it. That play was the play, if you ask me.
The rest is mere “Analytics B.S.,” one would suppose. Harden hit the free throw, Ariza fouled out on the call, and then the Rockets ran another out of bounds play to free Harden up. And he got free thanks to Dwight Howard holding John Wall (another missed call—a second wrong certainly does not make the previous controversy right), and he jetted past a scared-to-foul Kevin Seraphin for the game-winning bucket.
Loss. See you later. No .500 for you. Have a nice All-Star break.
Randy Wittman didn’t have many words during Comcast’s post-game show.
“These guys deserved to win the game. To have it taken from them, that’s sad,” the coach said. “I got more ‘my bads’, ‘my miss’ tonight than I’ve ever seen. To have difference of 30 free throws. It’s hard. It’s hard.”
Assuming Wittman is talking about referee ‘my bads’ here; in any case, Wittman also seemed to allude to the refs realizing the error of their ways upon going to review the play, but were hamstrung by the call that they had made at that point.
Trevor Ariza was initially left speechless when asked about the play. “I was [ticked] off, to be honest,” he would tell the Washington Post’s Michael Lee. “Not for me to decide,” he would also say via the CSN post-game show when asked if there was some embellishment on Harden’s part.
A gentleman, a hookah, and a diplomat.
And so the Wizards are going to #SoWizards.
Hall of Fame coach Phil Jackson? Welp, he agreed (on the flop/offensive foul part). Via Twitter @PhilJackson11:
“Dick Bavetta has been around long enuf to know that clasp Harden put on Trevor-offensive foul…okay i’ll SMH”
We’re shaking our head, too, Phil. We’re SMH, too.