Houston Rockets shooting guard James Harden just became the first player to be fined for flopping in this 2013-14 NBA season, and it took him just seven games to do it. (Ah, these Rockets and their love of pushing the pace.)
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The NBA announced Monday that Harden had run afoul of the league's anti-flopping guidelines for the second time this season in Houston's 107-94 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. The simulation in question came with just over four minutes left in the fourth quarter, with the Rockets trailing by nine and Harden looking to get to the foul line after rebounding his own missed layup and finding himself trapped by Clippers power forward Blake Griffin along the baseline:
Yeah, the announcers' laughter kind of says it all there, doesn't it?
Harden received the season's first $5,000 fine because this was the second time he's been found guilty of excessive dramatics. The first violation came during Houston's Nov. 5 win over the Portland Trail Blazers:
In the NBA's slowed-down, multi-angle cut of the play, you can see that Blazers defender Wesley Matthews doesn't even make contact with Harden's face, and yet the Rockets' two-guard snaps his head back as if he'd been jaw-jacked and hits the deck. The play resulted in free throws and a technical foul on Matthews for protesting at the time — later, Wes called Harden "creative" — but the league office sees all, and so Harden's wallet is now just a bit lighter.
A quick reminder on the NBA's flop penalty schedule:
Violation 1: Warning
Violation 2: $5,000 fine
Violation 3: $10,000 fine
Violation 4: $15,000 fine
Violation 5: $30,000 fine
Violation 6: Subject to discipline reasonable under the circumstances, including an increased fine and/or suspension
While Harden's the first NBA player fined for flopping this season, Washington Wizards point guard John Wall was the first to receive the one-strike warning that precedes a $5,000 rip. If Wall gets caught again, he'll have to pony up, as will Minnesota Timberwolves outlet pals Kevin Love and Corey Brewer, San Antonio Spurs point guard/karaoke champion Patty Mills, Milwaukee Bucks center Zaza Pachulia and New York Knicks guard Iman Shumpert.
The league introduced a system to penalize flopping before the start of the 2012-13 NBA season, and upgraded penalties for last year's playoffs, eliminating the warning strike and hitting simulators with a $5,000 fine from the first transgression. Nineteen players ran afoul of the new rule, with the first warnings handed out to J.J. Barea and Donald Sloan, and the first fine levied against Reggie Evans. Four players besides Evans — Gerald Wallace, Barea, Kevin Martin and Omer Asik — received $5,000 flopping fines during the regular season, and eight players — Derek Fisher, Jeff Pendergraph, J.R. Smith, Tony Allen, LeBron James, David West and Lance Stephenson, and Chris Bosh — were dinged $5,000 during the postseason.
Video via Ian Houser.
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