Rockets All-Star guard James Harden has been suspended by the NBA, the league announced today.
The league upgraded Harden's flagrant 1 call to a flagrant 2, thus the Rockets' leading scorer will miss Tuesday's game against the Eastern Conference leading Atlanta Hawks.
The Rockets' game Sunday against the Cavaliers was played at playoff-level physicality. LeBron James and James Harden went back and forth on every play. The tussle came to a head, James attempted to rip the ball away from Harden at the end of the third quarter. Harden went to the floor, frustrated, and kicked James (not very hard) in the groin.
The kick was uncalled for and shouldn't be a part of an NBA game. Did LeBron have to act like one of those fat guys being shot with a cannon after the kick? No. And, what about disciplinary action on James for putting his forearm into Patrick Beverley's chest while the two wrestled under the basket? My guess is Rockets fans aren't holding their breath waiting for that call to come from the league office.
The Rockets will be shorthanded against the Hawks without Harden and center Dwight Howard, who is still sidelined with a knee injury. Yes, it's only one game but every game counts in the Western Conference where the second and seventh spots are separated by only five games.
Who will step up for the Rockets? Or will the team be lucky to score 70 points on Tuesday? Corey Brewer has averaged 13.5 points per game in 24.2 minutes since the All-Star Break. What about K.J. McDaniels? He's only seen five minutes of action since being traded to the Rockets. But it's next man up once again for the Rockets.