Kevin Durant says Rockets’ James Harden not cheating, but playing ‘within the rules of the game’
Kevin Durant won’t point the finger at James Harden for how the officiating has taken over the narrative of a barn-burner Western Conference Semifinal series between the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets.
Harden has taken an onslaught of criticism after exaggerating his landing to induce foul calls, but Durant notes there’s not much wrong with what he’s doing.
“He’s not cheating the game,” said Durant, according to ESPN’s Nick Friedell. “He’s playing within the rules of the game”
Kevin Durant, who has known James Harden a long time, doesn’t see any problem with how Harden plays: pic.twitter.com/pnjFzUWfiz
— Connor Letourneau (@Con_Chron) April 30, 2019
Harden’s in-game protest with the officials moved on to the post-game, when Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni argued his team should have shot another 20 free throws, and Harden’s outcry to be officiated fairly suddenly became the talk of the game.
The Warriors won a closely-contested 104-100 Game 1 after Harden missed a potential game-tying 3-pointer after being defended by Draymond Green, who closed out on the shot attempt. Harden fell to the ground and wondered why no foul was called, which ultimately resulted in a Chris Paul technical foul after the Rockets point guard argued for a foul call benefitting Harden and another for teammate Eric Gordon, who was ruled out of bounds.
Paul received his second technical of the game with 4.4 seconds left and was consequently ejected, giving Stephen Curry one technical free throw to put it away.
Warriors head coach Steve Kerr “flopped” on San Francisco Chronicle reporter Ann Killion during Monday’s media availability as a funny gesture mocking the narrative of this series.
It’s worthy to note that Durant and Harden spent three seasons together in Oklahoma City and still have a strong rapport, making him the most unlikely character to criticize his former teammate and his playing style.
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