The Rockets finally have all their guys back, and the first game didn’t go so well. In their first game after the All-Star break, they lost to the Lakers after leading as much as 19 points.
At the end of the game, we saw the Rockets regressing to Harden mode, with almost no pick and roll action. It is natural that CP3 and Capela are getting their legs back and couldn’t close the game with the intensity they will need in the playoffs, but this was too much for Harden as well.
He made mistakes consistent with a player out of energy – something many have indicated is likely to happen after all the minutes and tens of thousands of dribbles his game featured in his 30 point run.
Shockingly, the Rockets complained about the referee. Chris Paul acting like a spoiled brat on the court is no news, Harden developed his brand of drama, and coach D’Antoni also has his way of dealing with refs. This time it was Harden fouling out with 1:24 left in the game. Four out of his six fouls were offensive fouls, and Harden has an explanation for that.
After the ESPN report on Donaghy that came out during the All-Star break, controlling referee standards and making sure refs call plays consistently is a legitimate question to ask. It is no news refs also have players they prefer and those they don’t prefer, and Foster and these Rockets have a history from last year and the playoffs series with the Blazers.
But out of all 30 teams in the NBA, the Rockets are the last one to have any right to complain about officiating. I suspect they will get a lot of sympathy from the rest of the league and fans, considering all the foul hunting, traveling and the dramatic reactions that follow them for the past few years. Just take a look at CP3 making a “play” on his banana boat buddy LeBron.
Before the Rockets, it was the Clippers that had such reputation, and it came to bite them in the ass. You can’t behave like that and expect it not to come back. It’s not Chris Paul, it’s everyone else.