After James Harden sets a record, Zach Randolph blasts the officiating amid rumors about his future
The Houston Rockets are a potential Western Conference championship contender, and the team was coming off of an impressive road win over the defending Western champs in San Antonio on Wednesday night prior to its pairing with the Memphis Grizzlies. Playing at home on Thursday, it seemed more than fair to assume that the team would have its way with the competitive but injury-addled Grizzlies, who are struggling to both score and defend to their typical levels with Marc Gasol still on the pine.
Houston pulled off that expected win, downing the Grizzlies 100-92, and guard James Harden scored his expected 27 points along the way. It was the way both Harden and the Rockets went about their typical totals that boggles a bit, though, as Harden shot just 2-9 from the field and yet still managed a points output that would rank second in the NBA in scoring if kept up throughout the year. The Rockets All-Star hit 22-25 free throws in the win, becoming the first player in NBA history to score 27 or more points while hitting two or fewer shots.
An oddity like that doesn’t come without some help, but Harden was modest about what he nearly termed as an off night. From the Associated Press:
''Just being aggressive, being aggressive,'' Harden said of the free throws. ''I couldn't make a shot. I just tried to get to the rim. We were kind of stagnant through the middle of the game, especially the third quarter, so I just wanted to get in attack mode.''
Memphis Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph, however, was quick to point to what he saw as Harden’s enablers. From ClutchFans.net:
In case you can’t play the video at work, here are Randolph’s fine-worthy thoughts about Memphis’ evening:
“It’s obvious, it was the refs tonight. Eight against five. The game, in the second half, the man was shooting free throws every time. We’re out there playing hard. They’re dictating the game. It can’t be like that, man. We’re out here playing too. It was horrible refereeing — a horrible game they reffed tonight. Awful. They dictated the game. Plain, point simple. They dictated the game. We’re out here working as hard as them. Come on, man.”
We expect to be updating this post later today to reflect the fine the NBA will levy against Mr. Randolph in the wake of his “eight against five” comments.