Knicks Morning News (2019.04.30)

  • [NYDN] Knicks TV rating dropped 38 percent last season
    (Monday, April 29, 2019 4:19:55 PM)

    Lots of losing and no Kristaps Porzingis meant very little interest in Knicks games.

    Ratings on MSG network dropped a massive 38 percent last season, according to figures released Monday by the Sports Business Journal.

    Only the Cavaliers, who lost LeBron James to the Lakers, fell further than the…

  • [NYTimes] Jimmy Butler and 76ers Hold Off Late Push by Raptors
    (Tuesday, April 30, 2019 3:47:24 AM)

    A cold shooting streak to start the game ultimately sunk Toronto, but the Raptors kept things competitive until the game’s final seconds.

  • [NYTimes] Warriors 104, Rockets 100 | Golden State leads series, 1-0: Warriors Start Hamptons Five, Showing Urgency in Win Over Rockets
    (Monday, April 29, 2019 11:20:30 AM)

    Golden State struggled to close out the underdog Clippers in the first round. With two injured stars, Coach Steve Kerr went right to his best unit against Houston.

  • [SNY Knicks] Latest on pending free agent Kevin Durant: Warriors fan Guy Fieri getting desperate
    (Monday, April 29, 2019 2:11:47 PM)

    Warriors star Kevin Durant can be a free agent after the season, and the idea that he could team up with fellow free agent Kyrie Irving on the Knicks this summer has picked up steam since the Kristaps Porzingis trade cleared two max slots for New York. Here are the latest rumors…

  • [NYPost] Knicks’ TV ratings tank, and only Kevin Durant can save them
    (Monday, April 29, 2019 7:38:00 PM)

    Just because Knicks fans still packed the Garden with a thumbs-up understanding of the team’s tanking, that didn’t mean people were watching from home. Knicks telecasts on MSG Network went in the tank also this season, seeing a ratings drop of 38 percent over last season, according to Sports Business Journal. The Knicks finished with…

  • [NYPost] Kemba Walker is complicated NBA free-agent case: ‘They’re f–ked’
    (Monday, April 29, 2019 11:45:23 AM)

    Kemba Walker hails from The Bronx and is a three-time All-Star. He makes sense for the needy Knicks, but how much sense/cents? He’s a complicated target, a player who could be eligible for a super-max contract slot if he makes one of three all-NBA teams, but is he worthy of such a contract having never…

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    Mike Kurylo

    Mike Kurylo is the founder and editor of KnickerBlogger.net. His book on the 2012 Knicks, "We’ll Always Have Linsanity," is on sale now. Follow him on twitter (@KnickerBlogger).

    70 thoughts to “Knicks Morning News (2019.04.30)”

    1. Stratomatic "I'm tired of the Knicks paying lip service to DEFENSE. Get defenders & two-way players. Then play them! says:

      I think the better argument is just the general “Call the fouls the way you call them all year long and we won’t have a problem.”

      That’s the way I’ve always felt about it, but the tradition of the game is to allow the players to get more physical in the playoffs because that’s the way they want they want to play when they are going all out on defense every possession as opposed to the regular season where it’s way less intense. If they called it the same way in the playoffs, everyone would foul out by halftime. :-)

      The way bigger problem is they called the 1st round different than the 2nd round.

      That’s crazy.

      You can prepare for a more physical game in the playoffs. You can’t prepare if every series or game is called differently and you aren’t sure what you are up against.

    2. Stratomatic "I'm tired of the Knicks paying lip service to DEFENSE. Get defenders & two-way players. Then play them! says:

      One good thing about the playoffs is that you can tell a lot about a player’s character and true value by watching who wants the ball and can execute vs. who is looking for a place to hide and seemingly falling apart. Some guys step it up a notch and some shrink. They sometimes develop over time with a few years of playoff experience, but this is obviously a whole different animal than the regular season.

    3. Stratomatic "I'm tired of the Knicks paying lip service to DEFENSE. Get defenders & two-way players. Then play them! says:

      The Nurkic injury is going to be a lot bigger in the Denver series than it was in the OKC series. Stevie Adams is a fine player, but he’s more of a 3rd or 4th option on offense. He wasn’t going to suddenly develop a broad range of offensive skills to take advantage of the matchup with Kanter. Jokic has offensive skills from all over the court. Kanter didn’t look so bad taking advantage of Jokic’s defense either. Still, Jokic is so skilled both inside and outside that matchup is way better for Denver than against Nurkic.

      I still think this Denver team is a “home cooking” fraud, but they do have home court in at least the first 2 rounds and drew great by being able to avoid the Warriors and Rockets in round 2 and into a less than 100% Portland team instead.

    4. One thing that’s crazy to me is how fast the top players change their games to exploit whatever the current emphasis of the refs is. A couple years ago it was those 3s everyone would fling up when a guy got on their hip as they came around a screen, and now it’s the “landing zone” emphasis. Harden is certainly notable but many of the top guys are dramatically kicking their legs out on every contest now. Jimmy Butler got a 4 point play (5 after Danny Green got a tech for accurately immitating Butler’s kick) on an absurd forward kick last night and then had a notable one with about 2 minutes left that extremely obvious because the contest pulled up short so he just ends up shooting a relatively open 3 with his legs flailing wildly (he made it too).

      So I do feel sympathy for the refs because these guys are amazing at conning them. That said I do agree that consistency is the most important thing in my eyes and it sure seemed like in that first Hou-GS game they explicitly changed how they called it in an effort to “set the tone” for the series. How the refs call it will surely be one of, if not the, main storylines tonight and that sucks. Houston makes it hard because they do live and die by the foul, but it’s definitely a problem that everyone – players, GMs, coaches, fans – think the refs are doing something other than just “see foul, blow whistle”.

    5. of course i agree that it’s senseless to quietly change the rules for the playoffs. but we don’t have a ton of data. imagine we looked at every play during the season and saw that harden had an unusually high rate of faking a landing area foul with a leg kick or hip swivel or just kind of flailing as he sometimes does. this wouldn’t be too surprising. and imagine the average ref has difficulty discerning this sort of fake in real time, subjecting the call to a much higher error rate in both directions. the better you are at faking the more randomness you should expect to inject into calls when you are not faking once the refs know you are a good, prolific faker.

      even if calls were fair on average, because of variance, you would expect a significant percentage of “audited” playoff games to generate a lopsided benefit for one team. now consider the increase in variance caused by effective faking and single game ref-generated variance rises even more.

      the rockets’ choice of which game to audit presumably came with severe selection bias — they already thought they got the bad end of the red stick. if their audit has turned out the other way, there would be no memo to the league and we’d never hear about it. i’m not saying they’re wrong — it might well be that there is an endemic bias here that isn’t an artifact of variance or adverse selection — but they haven’t present led reasonable evidence of it yet. but their argument that every playoff game should be fully audited by the nba to look for those biases makes sense.

    6. “The refs were against us!!”

      “The refs were against us!! But now with data.”

      Nothing has changed.

      I’m taking it with a huge grain of salt since the Rockets compiled their own report from a single game. The likely resolution is implementing more reviews and slowing the game down more. There will always be missed calls when humans call the game in real time.

    7. One good thing about the playoffs is that you can tell a lot about a player’s character and true value by watching who wants the ball and can execute vs. who is looking for a place to hide and seemingly falling apart.

      It would seem pretty weird for the last 8 teams left in the playoffs to be playing guys who can’t rise to the occasion. That’s why they’re still playing.

      Occasionally you’ll see guys like Andre Roberson being deathly afraid of the ball (2016 WCF comes to mind) but I sense it as far less common than you’re making it out to be. Maybe you’ll see them on the 42-40 teams that sneak into the 8-seed, but we’re talking about the playoffs of the most competitive basketball league in the world.

    8. Denver’s home record isn’t much better than Portland’s. Denver won 34 home games, Portland won 32. Portland won 21 games on the road, Denver won 20. They’re about as evenly matched as you can get, but with the Nurkic injury I feel like Denver does have the slight edge.

    9. Harden is certainly notable but many of the top guys are dramatically kicking their legs out on every contest now.

      I think some of this is guys taking the injury risk of coming down on a player’s foot seriously. So players across the league are falling on three point shots whenever a defender is near. Less risk of injury from falling vs foot landing. Paul had a non-call on one of these in the last game where he clearly fell back on his own and folks were deriding him for flopping, but had he not done so he would have landed on the defender’s feet.

      There’s no excuse for the way they called those Sunday. It’s not that hard to differentiate between shooter initiated contact and the defender getting underneath them and we know that because officials have been getting those calls right all damn year.

    10. I’m a high school basketball official, so I tend to sympathize with my fellow referees. That 3 point shot foul call is really, really difficult. Steve Javie said on NBA radio that Harden is the hardest player by far to officiate because he’s always trying to “con” the refs into making foul calls (and he’s also really good at it) There really aren’t a lot of other players who consistently put it on the refs to make that 3 point foul call.

      And I’m really tired of the Rockets whining. Maybe make more than 7 of your 44 three point attempts in a game 7 and I’ll have a little more sympathy.

    11. There’s no excuse for the way they called those Sunday. It’s not that hard to differentiate between shooter initiated contact and the defender getting underneath them and we know that because officials have been getting those calls right all damn year.

      Do you have numbers to back that up? Because I certainly don’t know that. Much of landing zone calls seems like a judgment call, especially when it comes to Harden and his BS.

    12. Refs did a good job all season and in the rest of the playoffs calling something that the league has rightly deemed an injury risk. Maybe it’s hard to call, but they successfully did so and nobody had a problem with it. Players stopped defending that way, mostly. Then, for one game so far, the refs decided they just wouldn’t bother to call it because, apparently, they felt that Harden is too good at using the rules of the game to his advantage, mostly because he’s better than anyone else at exploiting small balance shifts to get threes off with less space than other players. Fuck that bullshit. Those refs should be pulled from the playoffs. It’s egregious bad acting on their part. You are intentionally failing at your job of being an impartial official when you toss out the rule book because you dislike a player.

    13. Stratomatic "I'm tired of the Knicks paying lip service to DEFENSE. Get defenders & two-way players. Then play them! says:

      It would seem pretty weird for the last 8 teams left in the playoffs to be playing guys who can’t rise to the occasion. That’s why they’re still playing.

      I think each of the playoff teams probably has 1-3 guys that can rise to the occasion fairly consistently (the exception being the Warriors). The rest of the guys are praying those other guys have a huge game so they don’t have to be the one taking the the really big shots or avoiding the mental breakdowns that lead to TOs. :-)

    14. Do you have numbers to back that up? Because I certainly don’t know that. Much of landing zone calls seems like a judgment call, especially when it comes to Harden and his BS.

      I don’t actually, but I can’t remember more than a handful of missed calls and a lot of correct ones. Seems pretty simple to to be like ‘here is the column of space the shooter was in, did the defender land within that.’ I could be wrong, it could be very difficult but I don’t recall much bitching about it this past season.

      That is, of course, not what happened here. In this game, the refs just decided they weren’t going to call that foul. It wasn’t one way, GS should have gotten a couple of those calls too.

    15. Stratomatic "I'm tired of the Knicks paying lip service to DEFENSE. Get defenders & two-way players. Then play them! says:

      Denver’s home record isn’t much better than Portland’s.

      The Nuggets have traditionally had a bigger home court advantage than other teams because of the altitude and because they were often smart enough to build teams that would run and take advantage of that even more (Karl was no fool). Before everyone else figured that out, that was one of my favorite gambling plays. I liked to bet on the Nuggets at home when the opponent was coming in off a back to back (preferably after a long late flight) and the Nuggets were home for awhile getting used to it. Their edge has shrunk because there are fewer back to backs in the regular season, but they are probably still better at home than on the road at least partially because of the altitude issue. In the playoffs there are no back to backs and the teams are traveling on the same schedule. So whatever edge they still have is probably less in the playoffs.

    16. Stratomatic "I'm tired of the Knicks paying lip service to DEFENSE. Get defenders & two-way players. Then play them! says:

      Refs did a good job all season and in the rest of the playoffs calling something that the league has rightly deemed an injury risk. Maybe it’s hard to call, but they successfully did so and nobody had a problem with it.

      Yeah, I’m not buying that it’s random in any way.

      The refs are going to blow some calls every night, but if they call the same controversial play one way consistently for an entire series (Utah) and the opposite way multiple times another night, that’s either a purposeful change or perhaps a different group of the referees. There are referee stats for gamblers, but I don’t know if they get that detailed. I’m sure the smartest teams have more detailed info because certain referees do call games differently. That was established years ago. They’d be foolish not to.

    17. Stratomatic "I'm tired of the Knicks paying lip service to DEFENSE. Get defenders & two-way players. Then play them! says:

      of course i agree that it’s senseless to quietly change the rules for the playoffs.

      It’s senseless to change the rules “during” the playoffs, but it’s fine “for” the playoffs.

      The players are playing at a much more intense level on almost every possession in the playoffs than the regular season and the starters (stars) are playing more minutes. If they called the game as tight in the playoffs, too many key players would get into foul trouble. I’m not even sure if that’s the thinking that prompts it (most likely is), but the players have always played a more physical game in the playoffs because every possession in every game is critical.

    18. The Nuggets have traditionally had a bigger home court advantage than other teams because of the altitude and because they were often smart enough to build teams that would run and take advantage of that even more (Karl was no fool).

      This particular Denver team plays at a slow pace, 27th out of 30.

    19. As much as I would like to see the Warriors dynasty come to an end, its real hard for me to work up sympathy for James Harden. He’s made his career out of flopping and pushing the limits of the rules. Now he and the Rockets are gonna turn around and complain about the refs. Cry me a river, dude! Sack up and adjust your game to the way its being called.

      I agree with Strat. There should be less foul calls in the playoffs because the overall play is much more intense and physical. It should be consistent throughout the playoffs, though, I agree with that. But James Harden would probably average 6 to 8 points less in his career if he didn’t get a whistle for every time he flopped. I’ve always hated his game so much for that reason.

    20. Some of those “landing area” calls were missed in the Warriors/Rockets game but NOT on that last Harden shot. Draymond jumps into the air at the three point line and comes down at the three point line. Harden jumps into the air one-and-half or two feet behind the arc and not only comes down at the three point line, he swings his legs forward as he lands. And as others have pointed out, when you deliberately try and con the refs on foul calls over and over again, it’s hard to have any sympathy when bad calls go against you.

      But I also think this is a good demonstration of the weakness inherent in the modern obsession with analytics. Morey and Houston get praised for boiling their offense down to only the “most efficient” shots – threes, layups, and free throws. But as their whining shows, it’s an offense that is very dependent on playing under a certain set of conditions and they can’t adjust if those conditions are changed.

      Mike

    21. Refs did a good job all season and in the rest of the playoffs calling something that the league has rightly deemed an injury risk. Maybe it’s hard to call, but they successfully did so and nobody had a problem with it. Players stopped defending that way, mostly. Then, for one game so far, the refs decided they just wouldn’t bother to call it because, apparently, they felt that Harden is too good at using the rules of the game to his advantage, mostly because he’s better than anyone else at exploiting small balance shifts to get threes off with less space than other players. Fuck that bullshit. Those refs should be pulled from the playoffs. It’s egregious bad acting on their part. You are intentionally failing at your job of being an impartial official when you toss out the rule book because you dislike a player.

      And now that they made a big deal about it, the league has answered by bringing in Scott Foster for Game 2. Skeeeeeeeetchy.

    22. If you watch random Harden shooting 3’s highlights he lands inside the 3 point line all the time. Maybe it’s designed to draw fouls, but that’s just his regular shot.

      I read on twitter the NBA assigns refs for the first 2 games of the series before game 1.

    23. I mean are you going to make a rule saying that players can’t be moving towards the hoop when they shoot?

    24. Some of those “landing area” calls were missed in the Warriors/Rockets game but NOT on that last Harden shot.

      Cherry picking one justified non-call to argue that it’s all Harden’s fault is ridiculous. There were at least two landing area calls that clearly should have gone Golden State’s way – no whistle. Four or five that clearly should have gone Houston’s way – no whistle. The refs apologized at half-time for not calling them then proceeded to continue to not call them. This wasn’t an ‘some of those calls were missed’ situation, it was a deliberate choice by the refs to not call those kind of fouls.

      But sure, it’s an indictment of D’Antoni’s system that when the refs decided to implement a novel foul adjudication scheme that the Rockets complained about it. That they still managed a close game against one of the best collections of talent the league has ever seen doesn’t even enter into it. Well spotted.

    25. If you watch random Harden shooting 3’s highlights he lands inside the 3 point line all the time. Maybe it’s designed to draw fouls, but that’s just his regular shot.

      Yep. And again, if that’s something the league has a problem with (they shouldn’t, but whatever), then change the way the rule is applied. Don’t abruptly decide not to call it in Game 1 of the Conference Semi-Finals! And as Grocer correctly noted, it wasn’t like these were close calls that could have gone either way, these were blatant calls that the refs apologized for not calling and then continued to not call! It’s clear that they decided that they were going to use different rules out of nowhere for…reasons?

    26. I love that Vince Carter is not retiring. Good for you, Vince! Play until you can’t!

      This is awesome. Best news all day.

    27. I love that Vince Carter is not retiring. Good for you, Vince! Play until you can’t!

      Will you feel the same way if the Knicks actually sign Durant and Kyrie and then sign Vince at the Vet minimum to fill out their bench?

    28. I really disliked Vince in his heyday, but I thoroughly love his jumping grandpa phase. I wish Manu would have kept on playing too. There’s something endearing about old legends that just won’t go away (and play better than your Tree Rollins or Kevin Willis of yore).

    29. Will you feel the same way if the Knicks actually sign Durant and Kyrie and then sign Vince at the Vet minimum to fill out their bench?

      Sure! He can still play. It’s not like he had a terrible season. It wasn’t a great season, but he still had some utility last year. I wouldn’t mind him for an an end of the bench piece.

    30. Will you feel the same way if the Knicks actually sign Durant and Kyrie and then sign Vince at the Vet minimum to fill out their bench?

      If you are in win now mode, I don’t see any downside in having an old-ass heady player giving 10 minutes of rest to the stars during the regular season.

    31. Also there’s something weirdly poetic in seeing Melo become a castoff while Vince hops around and throws down a casual dunk at age 43.

    32. And as others have pointed out, when you deliberately try and con the refs on foul calls over and over again, it’s hard to have any sympathy when bad calls go against you.

      So much of what Harden does is not in the true spirit of basketball. No one at any level of basketball, past or present, thinks that exploiting referee weaknesses is what basketball “should” be. So when your game is so dependent on conning the officials into making incorrect calls, you lose the credibility to complain about referee mistakes.

      It’s the same as a politician lying repeatedly and intentionally, then screaming bloody murder when a reporter makes an honest mistake. (Not that this would ever happen in real life.) Sorry dude, but you don’t get to weigh in on this.

    33. Also there’s something weirdly poetic in seeing Melo become a castoff while Vince hops around and throws down a casual dunk at age 43.

      Great point. Vince was blessed with good health and a willingness to change. Melo….not so much.

    34. I mean are you going to make a rule saying that players can’t be moving towards the hoop when they shoot?

      To counter this, how do you defend a player jumping who’s forward without being in his “landing zone”? Jump backwards to contest the shot?

    35. Stratomatic "I'm tired of the Knicks paying lip service to DEFENSE. Get defenders & two-way players. Then play them! says:

      This particular Denver team plays at a slow pace, 27th out of 30.

      That’s fine, but the altitude has been and almost certainly still is an advantage even if they aren’t purposely trying to maximize it like Karl. I’m not a doctor, but it takes a certain about of time to acclimate to it. So if Denver is practicing and playing at home and you travel in, you are at a disadvantage over and above traditional home court.

      There’s a similar situation in Utah, but if my memory is correct the data wasn’t quite as strong.

    36. Stratomatic "I'm tired of the Knicks paying lip service to DEFENSE. Get defenders & two-way players. Then play them! says:

      But James Harden would probably average 6 to 8 points less in his career if he didn’t get a whistle for every time he flopped. I’ve always hated his game so much for that reason.

      I agree. Flopping is an entirely different issue.

      I’m a huge Gallinari fan. Part of what makes him good is that he gets to the FT line a lot and is very good from there. He’s also a pretty good flopper. But that flop act doesn’t work as well in the playoffs. They get more physical with him and he gets FEWER calls. His efficiency drops because he doesn’t finish the play with a score as often or get to the FT line as often. Don’t ask me to explain why he doesn’t shoot 3s as well. Most likely it’s random, but to be honest he looks tight. I’m not so sure he handled the pressure well this year.

    37. Stratomatic "I'm tired of the Knicks paying lip service to DEFENSE. Get defenders & two-way players. Then play them! says:

      @37

      So much of what Harden does is not in the true spirit of basketball. No one at any level of basketball, past or present, thinks that exploiting referee weaknesses is what basketball “should” be.

      I don’t recall anyone thinking along those lines years ago. If they did, it wasn’t discussed.

      Teams have stats on everything now. It’s half sport and half a math contest.

    38. To counter this, how do you defend a player jumping who’s forward without being in his “landing zone”? Jump backwards to contest the shot?

      AFAIK, if a player contends vertically then there’s no foul, shooter initiates contact. When the defender also moves forward and ends up in the landing zone, then there’s a foul.

      There’s a similar situation in Utah, but if my memory is correct the data wasn’t quite as strong.

      Denver is around 1000 ft higher in elevation than SLC. This is one of the interesting issues with putting a team in Mexico City, it’s around 2000 ft higher up than Denver. This mostly holds across all major NA sports leagues, but what’s interesting is that home court advantage is a bigger advantage overall in the NBA than anywhere else. Anyway, it’s apparently worth somewhere between 1.6 and 2.5 games in the regular season. I imagine the playoff edge would be a fair bit less since opponents will be more acclimated from spending more time there. Here’s a link.

    39. So much of what Harden does is not in the true spirit of basketball. No one at any level of basketball, past or present, thinks that exploiting referee weaknesses is what basketball “should” be. So when your game is so dependent on conning the officials into making incorrect calls, you lose the credibility to complain about referee mistakes.

      They called a play a foul all season long. Then they decided to no longer call it a foul in Game 1 of the Conference Semi-Finals, to the point where the referees were apologizing to the team for the fact that they were no longer calling a foul a foul. I don’t get how anyone can not have a problem with that.

      “Harden flops too much, so it’s cool for the league to change the rules in the Conference Semi-Finals” is not much of a position.

      Again, we’re not talking, “It’s tough to call these sort of fouls with the way that Harden moves his legs” or “we’re going to be stricter about contact on fouls,” but rather, “We are no longer calling these specific fouls now all of a sudden.”

    40. So much of what Harden does is not in the true spirit of basketball. No one at any level of basketball, past or present, thinks that exploiting referee weaknesses is what basketball “should” be. So when your game is so dependent on conning the officials into making incorrect calls, you lose the credibility to complain about referee mistakes.

      I don’t know if I agree with this. I think of it like our adversarial case-law system: one side tries to exploit the law (as written) to its own advantage; the judge is tasked with interpreting the law as written; the legislature then should amend the law if it disagrees with the way it’s been tried, tested and interpreted.

      Harden, like any player, is trying to brush right up against the margins of interpretation to exploit his strengths and capitalize on his opponents’ weaknesses. He has a right to be annoyed if the standards of interpretation suddenly change; the referee has the right to make a ruling on what she perceives to be a difference between a previous case and the current one (e.g. his body is moving forward whereas it previously came straight down); and the NBA has the right, as the legislative body for organization pro ball, to change the rules to ensure less grey area in referee interpretation and player exploitation.

      That all said, I agree that Harden’s brand of basketball can be displeasing to the eye. I sure as shit would rather watch Jokic make passes to a cutter than watch Harden try to rip through contact for three interminable FTs.

    41. Refs have always allowed more contact in the playoffs. From that point of view, they are consistent. It’s on Harden and his stubborn ass to figure that out and adjust, not act like a spoiled brat because he’s used to getting calls that aren’t fouls. Refs change every game, adjust your game to the refs like everyone else.

    42. This isn’t allowing more contact. This is changing what is a foul. It wasn’t just on Harden. The Warriors also weren’t getting the foul called, either. Again, the refs apologized for the fact that they are now not calling that foul a foul. It has nothing to do with allowing more contact in the playoffs. It’s about changing what is a foul in Game 1 of the Western Conference Semi-Finals. It’s bullshit.

    43. According to Jowles interpretation, GS knew the judge better than Harden did and they made the argument that appealed to the judges they were given. If Harden is a lawyer, he better know how the judge interprets the law. Clearly Harden didn’t and doubled down on an argument the judge wasn’t buying.

    44. This isn’t allowing more contact. This is changing what is a foul.

      I don’t see a difference.

    45. So much of what Harden does is not in the true spirit of basketball. No one at any level of basketball, past or present, thinks that exploiting referee weaknesses is what basketball “should” be. So when your game is so dependent on conning the officials into making incorrect calls, you lose the credibility to complain about referee mistakes.

      Again, as BC notes above, this was a deliberate decision and not a ‘mistake.’ And it is very obvious that players from all eras have exploited the rules to their advantage. I dunno what the hell you mean by “should.” Some imaginary pure basketball? Some sort of after-life league? I imagine then everyone would get all the calls they wanted. There oughta be an Elvis Costello song about it.

      That all said, I agree that Harden’s brand of basketball can be displeasing to the eye.

      I used to hate how he played, but this season it seems a little different. Kinda like when Lebron stopped doing the constant arm grabs, Harden has backed off the crazy demonstrative flopping. I’ve been watching a lot of him and he’s so much better at exploiting small balance shifts in defenders than anyone else it’s kind of amazing. He needs almost no space to make a move – his first step isn’t all that fast but his timing is incredible. Yes, almost every time he drives or shoots he looks for contact, but I’m not sure that’s actually flopping. He gets calls about half the time, but he’s probably getting fouled around 80% of the time. He’s a volume drawer of fouls and his FTr of .449 (!) really oversells how efficient he is at actually getting calls. Prioritizing FTs over every other shot is annoying basketball at best and excruciating at worst. But his ability to read opponents really is unmatched.

    46. According to Jowles interpretation, GS knew the judge better than Harden did and they made the argument that appealed to the judges they were given. If Harden is a lawyer, he better know how the judge interprets the law. Clearly Harden didn’t and doubled down on an argument the judge wasn’t buying.

      No, Golden State just doesn’t take the shots that Harden does as often, so it affects them less. They have decided to call fouls differently on a specific type of shot that Harden takes all the time. It’s absurd. It’s like saying “hand checks are not allowed…except on James Harden.” And then giving Harden and the Rockets shit if they’re not happy about said new rule.

    47. I don’t see a difference.

      Allowing more contact is not calling the Warriors when they foul Chris Paul while going for the ball at the end of the game. That’s just normal playoff officiating. This is a whole other deal.

    48. I am just thrilled Harden’s antics are being called into question to the point that its now a public litigation about what constitutes a foul in today’s game. The league has been saying for some time now that they were going to crack down on the flopfest that today’s NBA game has become. Perhaps the chickens are now coming home to roost. Though if they did I wish the refs wouldn’t choose James Harden their only example. There’s a lot of unfairness in how GS has been let off the hook.

    49. For high usage guys (above 30) in the 3 point era, Harden’s 2018-2019 season is 61st in FTr. He gets fouled a lot, and he has had all time FTr seasons, but this year it’s not like he’s drawing fouls at a historic rate. Maybe it’s just because his usage is insanely high the raw totals are high and people are paying more attention to it.

    50. @54, thank you. I was about to look that up. I’m not a Harden or Rockets fan but people acting like his MVP caliber season is mostly due to his ability to con the refs is way overblown. Dude tries to get calls more than most. It’s annoying. But BC is right. If he’s taking 3 pt shots and not given the space to land and they’ve been focusing on calling those fouls all year, you can’t fault the guy for being like “wtf?”

    51. Also, tho I think the Rocket’s audit case is a bit flimsy (I’m convinced they were disadvantaged in that game, but not convinced, as they claim, it cost them a championship) and agree that it’s annoying they’re always bitching about calls, I actually think the Ws are worse! You always see CP, Harden, and D’Antoni whining, but that’s really it from the team. Every player on the Ws is a fucking brat! Steph and Klay bitch (or at least pout with bitchy smiles), KD and Draymond are as bad as Paul and Harden if not worse. Love Kerr as a person and coach but he can bitch about refs with the best of them. I even see the young guys on the team following their leaders. It’s the worst part of that series by far (talking about both teams now).

    52. Maybe it’s just because his usage is insanely high the raw totals are high and people are paying more attention to it.

      He’s a high volume, low efficiency foul drawer*. He honestly doesn’t flop more than the average, anymore. I don’t know that there’s more to say about this. You either see the ref’s choices in that game as the systemic problem they were, or you think that individualized unilateral punitive measures against a specific player you find annoying is a perfectly fine way for officials to behave. I personally prefer basketball to Calvin-ball, but apparently opinions vary.

      *There’s gotta be a better word for that, somebody help me out.

    53. It’ll definitely be interesting to see how they officiate that kind of play tonight. Personally I think it was as important a point of emphasis as any (I don’t want to lose another full season of a prime age, elite player) and think it should be called as such at all times. Nice to see Milwaukee steamroll the Celtics tonight.

      I’m gonna miss CC Sabathia so fucking much.

    54. An underrated insane thing is Tilman Fertitta forcing Morey to waive a semi-useful player in James Ennis for luxury tax savings. Now they’re playing Austin Rivers and Gerald Green major minutes in the biggest game of their season.

    55. An underrated insane thing is Tilman Fertitta forcing Morey to waive a semi-useful player in James Ennis for luxury tax savings. Now they’re playing Austin Rivers and Gerald Green major minutes in the biggest game of their season.

      I was thinking about that as Ennis was hitting shots against the Raptors last night.

    56. Fun game. Felt tight, considering the Rockets trailed the whole time.

      With Foster involved, it was surprising to see how well officiated it was. The Rockets just got outplayed. Although, speaking of the refs, a lot of that also seemed to be the Rockets gameplaying for how they’re calling the game now, which I don’t particularly like either, but eh, better than Game 1.

    57. Yeah, the Warriors are winning the championship again unless major injuries happen.

      I’m not even on the Rockets side about officiating or anything, but I just can’t wait for these Warriors to finally go away. It’s good basketball and it’s been fun to watch them play together, but I’d rather have real competitive series where we don’t have to jump through ten hoops to imagine an upset. Let’s hope the Rockets at least manages to make it close and whoever comes out of the east is able to do anything against them.

    58. Well, they’re about to lose the likely three-time NBA Finals MVP to the Knicks, so I doubt they win a fourth title in a row next season.

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