In an officiating report released by the NBA on Friday, the league said officials should have called Houston Rockets guardJames Harden for an offensive foul before his game-winning shot over Andre Iguodala in Thursday’s 97-96 victory over the Golden State Warriors.
“Harden (Houston) initiates the contact with Iguodala (Golden State) to create space and dislodges him from his legal guarding position,” the league’s “Last Two Minute Report” read.
Harden knocked down a two-pointer with 2.7 seconds remaining after pushing off Iguodala to create space for the step-back jumper.
He finished with a game-high 35 points as well as nine assists and eight rebounds as the Rockets protected their home court and avoided a sweep, though the Warriors were playing their second straight game without reigning MVP Stephen Curry (ankle).
“The last shot was typical of what James does,” interim head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said, per ESPN.com. “The move, we’ve seen before. The finish, we’ve seen before. You do get spoiled by it at times, but in these biggest of moments, you can’t help but appreciate it.”
The internal reports are released to the public as part of the NBA’s ongoing push for officiating transparency. While the league can’t do anything to change missed calls, it’s an act of good faith for the NBA to acknowledge when things go wrong.
The Warriors aren’t likely to find any solace in that, though.
They’re looking to get as much rest as possible before a potential second-round matchup with the Los Angeles Clippers, but Harden’s shot ensured that they’ll have to make a trip back to the Bay Area for a fifth game.
There’s not much of a chance this will affect the outcome of the series, but given the Warriors’ constant comparisons to the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls, it may alter some fans’ opinions regarding the team’s place in the history books.