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James Harden calls out referees, NBA: ‘You can’t have 2 officials in a national game’

“There’s a lot of no calls that need to be called.”

NBA: Houston Rockets at Boston Celtics
The Houston Rockets wore this face the entire second half of a hard loss to the Boston Celtics.
Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

James Harden delivered stern words for the NBA and the referees after two Marcus Smart flops on James Harden helped the Boston Celtics secure an improbable come from behind win.

The demoralizing loss featured the Rockets squandering a 26 point lead and making just 9 second half baskets.

The lack of offense set the table for Marcus Smart to draw two offensive foul calls on James Harden and get away with an obvious travel in the games final 30 seconds.

The calls and no call came as only two referees walked the hardwood after the crew’s third referee had to scratch and the NBA couldn’t produce a replacement.

James Harden kept his cool in a post-game interview about the final minute, but delivered stern words for both the referees and the NBA:

Transcript (edited for clarity):

James Harden: “First of all, I want to know how do you only have two officials on a national TV game? That’s the first question.

“But... A lot of grabbing, a lot of holding. I mean what am I supposed to... how else am I supposed to get open? Guy has two arms wrapped around my whole body.

“We blew a lead. Turned the ball over a little bit too much. And that was that.”

Reporter: “Two officials definitely affected the entire game (inaudible)...”

Harden: “Yeah. I know.”

Reporter #2: “What did you think of the two charges?”

Harden: “I just spoke up on them.”

Reporter #3: “(Inaudible comment on Celtics run). Why was it so hard to stop their run once they got going?”

Harden: “You know, they’re a good team, obviously. They’re going to make shots. They’re going to make a run. Especially when they’re at home. We just didn’t execute when we needed to. But like I said in the first statement, you know, it’s tough. You can’t have two officials in a professional game. There’s a lot of no calls that need to be called. Cause that changes the dynamic of the game. Then you got fastbreak points, no calls, turnovers, or whatever the case may be. But, it’s a professional game, national TV, can’t happen.”