James Harden was fouled on a drive to the basket in the closing seconds of Houston’s loss to the Grizzlies on Wednesday.
The referees didn’t call it at the time, but we all saw it with our own eyes, and the league admitted as much in its officiating report that was released the very next day.
As you might imagine, coming clean after the fact does little to correct what happened, at least in the players’ eyes.
When asked if it meant anything that the league admitted their error, Harden said, “It’s still a loss.”
Forward Trevor Ariza added that he and his teammates got “nothing” from the announcement.
“We appreciate the acknowledgment, but it still puts us in the losing column,” forward Josh Smith said. “You never know what the outcome of that game would have been with the call.”
This reaction will be consistent with players, because if they get blatantly hosed on a particular late-game call that might have swung things in their favor, there’s little to be gained by the league confirming as much a day later, when there is no available recourse.
The attempt at transparency is a positive one with these reports overall, and the goal is that they will lead to better and more consistent officiating when games are on the line. Just don’t expect the players to be somehow grateful for the revisionist history.