Think that got to the Lakers? At times, they defended with their hands behind their backs.
“Just trying to defend without fouling,” said James, who briefly locked his hands behind his body on a Rockets possession in the third quarter. “That’s a point of emphasis any time you play Houston. They got guys that can sell calls really good — Chris [Paul] and James [Harden] — so you got to try to keep your hands out of the cookie jar.”
This is what Harden – and, to a lesser extent, Paul – do. Harden is so good at drawing fouls. That’s a skill – one that pays off in numerous ways.
It generates efficient free throws. It puts opponents in foul trouble. And it irritates opponents.
The Lakers sabotaged themselves to prove a point. That’s how in their head Harden and the Rockets got.
Maybe it’ll pay off in the long run, with referees second-guessing fouls Harden draws. But last night, it just exposed the Lakers’ frustration.