James Harden has the green light 100 percent of the time in his new role with the Houston Rockets, although this possession midway through the fourth quarter during a tight game with the Cavaliers probably wasn’t what his coaching staff had in mind when gifting him with that responsibility.
Harden receives the ball with about 13 seconds left on the shot clock, with his team clinging to a three-point lead and Dion Waiters defending. He initiates the drive, before being cut off by Waiters, whose expert defensive effort here should not go unnoticed.
Harden retreats, and too much dribbling becomes problematic, as the ball gets away from him and nearly rolls out of bounds. Harden not only saves it, but manages to get around Waiters and launch an awkward 30-foot three-point attempt as the shot clock expires.
Of course, it goes down.
Harden finished with 29 points and seven steals in 38 minutes, and the Rockets got the 112-104 win over the Cavaliers.
Dwyane Wade ‘honored’ to be Prince’s favorite player
The officiating crew missed a host of calls during those final 13 seconds, but they have at least owned up to the most egregious one — missing Dion Waiters pushing off Manu Ginobili while the Thunder guard tried to inbound the ball. (Yes, Ginobili’s foot was on the line, but sorry Thunder homers that was not close to the most egregious miss at the end.)
After the game, the lead official Kenny Mauer admitted that error.
Did that decide the game? No. We like to focus on things we can blame as going wrong, but the Spurs offense started 2-of-15 shooting on the night, was inconsistent, and they still had a chance at the end. This one play is not why the Spurs lost. Manu Ginobili said it well postgame.
Raptors’ Bismack Biyombo given after-the-fact Flagrant 2 for elbow to Pacers’ Turner, no suspension
However, no mention of a suspension for this incident alone. The Raptors catch a break there, as Biyombo should have been tossed from the game and/or given a suspension for that elbow. That said, one more flagrant and he does get a suspension.
NBA’s Basketball Without Borders to host first event in Australia
Australia has brought a fair amount of talent — and scrappy players — to the NBA, and now the NBA is taking one of its outreach programs there.
Yesterday the NBA, FIBA, and Australia’s National Basketball League announced a Basketball without Borders event June 23-26 at Dandenong Basketball Stadium in Melbourne. It’s the first time the community outreach program will come to the island nation of Australia.
“We are pleased to partner with FIBA and the NBL to bring the first Basketball without Borders camp to Australia,” NBA Asia Managing Director Scott Levy said in a statement. “The league has seen a surge of Australian talent in recent years, and we look forward to supporting the next generation by giving them a platform to showcase their skills alongside their peers from throughout the region.”
These events bring in youth basketball players and work with them, both giving young players highest quality instruction and raising the profile of the sport in the nation with a little star power. Basketball Without Borders will celebrate 15 years this summer and has been all over the globe with similar events.