Harden hit with $25K fine for criticizing ref Foster

Rockets guard James Harden has been fined $25,000 for publicly criticizing the officiating following Houston’s loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday, the league announced Saturday.

Harden’s comments were directed specifically at referee Scott Foster, whom he said “for sure” has a “personal” issue with the Rockets and should not be allowed to officiate any more of their games.

Harden was called for four offensive fouls in the loss Thursday at Staples Center, including the call that disqualified him from the game with 1:24 left and the Rockets trailing by six points. That call was made by referee Michael Smith, but it was Foster, the crew chief, who was the target of Harden’s wrath.

“Scott Foster, man. I never really talk about officiating or anything like that, but just rude and arrogant,” said Harden, who finished with 30 points to extend his streak of 30-point performances to 32 games, the second longest in NBA history. “I mean, you aren’t able to talk to him throughout the course of the game, and it’s like, how do you build that relationship with officials? And it’s not even that call [on the sixth foul]. It’s just who he is on that floor.

“It’s pretty frustrating. And I’m probably going to get hit [with a fine], but honestly, I don’t really say anything. I’m a pretty quiet guy, to myself, but it’s one of those things where you can’t voice your opinion. You can’t have a conversation with someone that’s officiating the game. You’re getting a tech. It’s pretty sad.”

Harden is a game-time decision for Saturday’s contest against the Golden State Warriors after not participating in the team’s walk-through, a source told ESPN’s Tim MacMahon. Harden is dealing with a cervical strain in his neck.

Information from ESPN’s Tim MacMahon was used in this report.

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