NBA: Dwight Howard got away with late shooting foul of James Harden in Hawks’ win over Rockets

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Another Dwight HowardJames Harden controversy?

At least this one is out in the open.

With the Rockets down one and a minute left in their 113-108 loss to the Hawks on Thursday — the game where Tim Hardaway Jr. went wild — Harden drove to the basket. Howard blocked his shot, and the ball went out of bounds off Harden.

But Howard got away with a shooting foul, according to the NBA’s Last Two Minute Report:

Howard (ATL) makes contact to Harden’s (HOU) face that affects his shot attempt.

A correct call would’ve meant two free throws for Harden, who’s shooting 85% from the line this season and 86% for his career.

Instead, Atlanta scored on the other end, pushing its lead to three. That made Houston far easier to defend, because the Hawks knew to protect the arc and concede shots inside — a strategy that would’ve been unavailable in a one-point game. Trevor Ariza missed a contested 3-pointer, and the Hawks added a dunk in the chaos.