Following Saturday’s down to the wire loss to Houston, of which many people suspect to be an NBA Finals preview, Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart had a few choice words about the officiating, which Adam Silver did not take a liking to:
“You get certain players who get calls that other guys just wouldn’t get,” he said. “We all know the rule. We all understand it. Superstars are going to be superstars. We get it. It is what it is. We’ve just got to play.”
This quote is blatantly directed towards Rockets star James Harden, who has made a living from getting opponents in awkward situations on defense and forcing them to commit fouls. James Harden knows he does it, anyone who has watched James Harden play basketball knows he does it, and the officials definitely know he does it. Harden went 11-13 from the free throw stripe while only shooting a measly 6-18 from the field. The Celtics as a whole shot just 21 free throws. When you also compare the fact that the Rockets shot 49(!!!) three-pointers, the fact that as a team they shot a total of 30 free throws seems like a high number.
Smart was subsequently fined for “publically bashing referees.” Everyone can agree that there is no room for in professional sports, however, the NBA fining Smart just proved his point even more than his statement did.
On December 28th the Boston Celtics and the Houston Rockets played for the first time this season in the TD Garden. This matchup is known as the game that James Harden gift wrapped and handed over as a late Christmas present by committing two offensive fouls against Marcus Smart in the final seven seconds. After the game, he released this statement:
“First of all, I wonder how you only have two officials on a national TV game,” Harden told reporters. “A lot of grabbing, a lot of holding. How else am I supposed to get open? The guy has two arms wrapped around my whole body.”
This was after a game where Harden went 15-15 on free throws while shooting an abysmal 7-27 from the field. While the Marcus Smart statement was focused around superstars getting superstar calls, and recognizing that it is just a part of the game, James Harden completely bashes the judgment of not only the referees but also the entire National Basketball Association. While Smart was fined for his opinion, Harden was not fined for taking the credibility of the NBA and their referees behind the woodshed and destroying it. Any sensible human being can see that the James Harden quote is much more critical, harsh, and eyebrow-raising than anything Marcus Smart said. This whole debacle only proves Smart’s point that super-stars get super-star treatment. As he’s shown before, Marcus is not afraid to get his hands dirty and stir up some trouble.
P.S.: If I wake up in a ditch anytime soon after this is posted, it was probably Harden who did it.