Harden feels targeted by rule change: I just ask officials 'to call what they see'
James Harden's scoring output has been down through three games of the 2021-22 season, in part because he's making fewer trips to the free-throw line.
When asked if he feels like the "poster boy" of the NBA rule change limiting foul calls initiated by non-basketball moves, the Brooklyn Nets superstar admitted Sunday that he feels he's being targeted specifically.
"Yeah, for sure. But I'm not the type to complain about it, you know what I mean? I just ask every official, if they see a foul, just call the foul," Harden said following the Nets' 111-95 loss to the Charlotte Hornets, according to SNY.
When the NBA provided examples of past defensive foul calls that would now be considered offensive fouls by ball-handlers, it cited cases where players used their leg or off-arm to initiate contact. In seasons past, Harden was one of the game's best at using those types of moves to reach the charity stripe.
"Sometimes I feel like coming into a game, it's already predetermined, or I already have that stigma of getting foul calls," Harden continued. "But I just ask for officials to call what they see."
Harden is averaging 18.3 points per game, his lowest output dating back to the 2011-12 season when he won Sixth Man of the Year with the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Beard's free throws are also down significantly. Harden has averaged 8.7 free-throw attempts for his career but is only taking three per game through three appearances this season.
"I think he's got to stick with it," Nets head coach Steve Nash said postgame, courtesy of the New York Daily News' Kristian Winfield. "But they're just so alert and aware, and he's the poster child of these new decisions. I get it, there's a line, but some of them are still fouls. So, he's just got to stick with it, he’s got to keep going to the basket, and he's got to do what he does because a large portion of them are still fouls, and if he doesn’t get fouls, he can still make plays."
Brooklyn's loss Sunday dropped the team's record to 1-2.
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