Whistled for two critical offensive fouls in the final 7.3 seconds of Thursday night's loss to the Boston Celtics, Houston Rockets star James Harden vented about a rare two-man referee crew and the late-game calls against him. Referee Mark Lindsay hurt his back during pregame warm-ups, leaving only referees Tony Brothers and Gediminas Petraitis for the clash between two of the league's best teams. "Well, first of all, I'm wondering how do you only have two officials on a national TV game? That's the first question," said Harden, whose first offensive foul allowed Boston to take its only lead of the game with 3.7 seconds to play. The second prevented Houston from having more than a last-second heave after Boston rallied from 26 points down for a 99-98 triumph at TD Garden. After a Jayson Tatum dunk pulled Boston within one point with 7.3 seconds to play, Harden got whistled for the first offensive foul when Marcus Smart hit the ground as he tried to prevent the All-Star guard from shaking free to take the inbounds pass. "A lot of grabbing, a lot of holding," Harden said. "I mean, how else am I supposed to get open? Gotta ask, with two arms wrapped around my whole body." Added Harden: "But like I said, it's just tough. You can't have two officials in a professional game. There's a lot of no-calls that need to be called, because that changes the dynamic of the game." The referees repeatedly drew the ire of Boston's sideline -- and the fans -- with coach Brad Stevens picking up a rare technical, along with Marcus Morris, for arguing a call against Boston as the team tried to rally.
Harden rips shorthanded officiating crew
ESPN | Dec 29