James Harden says 'it's personal' between him and 'arrogant' ref Scott Foster

It was another eventful game between the Houston Rockets, the Los Angeles Lakers and referee Scott Foster on Thursday night. The Rockets coughed up a 19-point lead and lost to the Lakers, but James Harden and Chris Paul had bigger issues with Foster, who issued them both late-game fouls at critical moments.

Harden managed to score 30 points before he fouled out late in the fourth quarter, bringing his streak of games with 30 points or more to 32, but he was livid with Foster’s officiating. When reporters talked to him about it after the Rockets’ 111-106 loss, he didn’t hold back.

Harden’s criticism of Foster’s attitude went even further. Via ESPN:

“For sure, it’s personal. For sure. I don’t think he should be able to even officiate our games anymore, honestly.”

A fine is likely coming for those remarks, which Harden admitted. But that didn’t stop him. He said he was frustrated with Foster’s demeanor on the court because he can’t talk to him during the game, which means they can’t build a relationship.

James Harden tries to control the ball during a 111-106 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
James Harden tries to control the ball during a 111-106 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Foster called 12 fouls on the Rockets last night, seven of which came in the fourth quarter. Chris Paul fouled out when Foster called a technical on him with just 33 seconds left in the game. As you might expect, Paul was not pleased — especially since he has a history with Foster. From ESPN:

“I don’t know what else to do, know what I mean?” Paul said, referring to his poor relationship with Foster. “I met with the league with him before and all this stuff. I don’t know what else to do.”

Paul called out Foster’s officiating in January 2018, and his comments then echoed what Harden said on Thursday night: that Foster isn’t willing to communicate with players on the court. And according to ESPN, Harden also mentioned that Foster refereed three Rockets losses in the 2018 NBA playoffs.

Foster wasn’t solely responsible for calling fouls on Paul and Harden, but the two of them certainly feel like they were targeted by him. If the past is any indication, the only thing that will come of this is fines for Paul and Harden. Foster will eventually officiate another Rockets game, and the cycle will begin anew.

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