NBA's L2M Report says Harden's offensive fouls correct Global on Dec 30, 2017 08:49 AM
NBA's L2M Report says Harden's offensive fouls correct
Houston Rockets' James Harden (13) protests a call beside Boston Celtics' Marcus Smart (36) during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Boston, Thursday, Dec. 28, 2017. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer) staff report

Two offensive fouls called on James Harden drawn by defensive specialist Marcus Smart in the final seconds capped off a wild come-from-behind Celtics victory for Boston on Thursday night (Friday, PHL time). The sequence left Houston stunned and Harden critical of a nationally televised game in which only two officials were healthy enough to work.

As for the sequence itself, the five-time All-Star appeared bemused that his contact should be considered illegal against Smart's aggressive style of play.

"A lot of grabbing. A lot of holding," Harden said after the game. "How else am I supposed to get open when a guy has two arms wrapped around my whole body?"

The NBA's Last Two Minute Report disagrees with his assessment. The late-game officiating evaluation listed both offensive fouls as correct calls, describing both cases as "Harden dislodg[ing] Smart from his legal guarding position."

The first foul set up Al Horford's game-winning shot with 3.9 seconds remaining. The league added that Smart not being assessed a personal foul on that sequence was the "correct non-call," saying that Smart made "marginal contact with Harden that does not affect his FOM (freedom of movement)."

The second infraction awarded possession back to the Celtics again, allowing them to clinch a win in which they trailed by 26 points.

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