James Harden‘s unorthodox style draws him a lot of fouls. His game is in part built around it — when he drives he can dish, he can score, but he’s almost certainly going to draw a foul (or get enough space to make a play as guys try to avoid fouling).
However, the play above was not him drawing a foul, it was a bad call.
It was overtime between Chicago and Houston, and Michael Carter-Williams fronted Harden to deny the easy pass, so Harden just laid on his back and the two fell to the ground. The referees blew the whistle but stunned Chicago by calling the foul on Carter-Williams, his sixth. Harden got two free throws.
That call alone was not the reason the Bulls lost to the Rockets, they gave up a late 8-0 run in regulation that allowed the game to be sent to overtime. There were other things. But that also doesn’t make that a good call. Taj Gibson said this after the game, via Vincent Goodwill of CSNChicago.com.
“He gets so many calls his way, it’s ridiculous sometimes,” Gibson said. “It was some rough calls late, but we had some guys who learned a lot tonight.”
“That was a big call, a tough call. But we had a chance to win the game. The game goes on. The refs can’t overturn it. James blatantly jumped on his back.”
The NBA’s Last Two Minute Report does not address this because it was outside the last two minutes of overtime. Also, this is not the first time Harden has drawn a foul this way.