Coming back from a one game suspension, James Harden & the Houston Rockets have every reason to be angry with the officials, allowing Zach Randolph of the Memphis Grizzlies to foul him and get away with it, leading to Marc Gasol hitting a game winning shot.
Gasol nailed a tough jumper with 0.1 seconds left on the clock, delivering the 102-100 win to the Grizzlies in a tough, rough and almost bloody battle between two teams that are chasing the Warriors in the wild wild Western conference. Not team led by too much for too long, but the Grizzlies did open a 10 point lead in the fourth quarter they managed to squander, and got help from the officials just before the Rockets were about to take the lead in the final minute.
Harden drove to the basket with under 10 seconds remaining. He was pushed into a double team with Randolph and Gasol squeezing on him. Harden doesn’t usually mind these situations, often lowering his head and trying to get a foul from it by throwing his arms around. This time, Randolph decided to strip the ball away from him and hit his arm. Harden lost the ball, expecting a foul, but the Grizzlies recovered, took a time out and went on to win the game.
End of the game everybody is watching who had the ball. I drove to the basket and I got grabbed on my arms and nothing was called. At the end of the game, I think everybody is watching the ball. Everybody in the entire crowd, everybody in the gym is watching the ball. I don’t know what to say. It’s frustrating, man, when you fight so hard to come back and you have an opportunity to win the game and it’s frustrating.
Harden leads the NBA in getting to the line, but had a frustrating day with just two attempts, something he’s not really used to. He scored just 18 points against the Grizzlies excellent defense, adding 13 assists and not going wild with his shooting as usual, maybe trying some different approach after missing one game in which the Rockets lost. Terrence Jones led the Rockets with 21 points and 9 rebounds, but couldn’t prevent the Grizzlies walking away with the win.
Gasol scored the clutch shot and also led the team with 21 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists, leading five players in double figures. The Grizzlies, uncharacteristically, finished with 27 assists on their 42 field goals, but looked stagnant on offense in the closing minutes until Gasol’s heroics. The feeling at the end of the game was that they managed to get away with something they didn’t deserve, but the Rockets had plenty of chances to finish them off and failed. It’s a shame officials mess up crucial calls, but that’s not the only reason the Rockets lost.