- The Boston Celtics completed a 26-point comeback against the Houston Rockets with the help of back-to-back offensive fouls from James Harden in the closing seconds.
- Following the second foul, one member of the Celtics’ radio broadcast team could be heard losing his mind over the airwaves.
- After the game, Harden was critical of the NBA for the game being officiated by just two referees.
The Boston Celtics stole a win from the Rockets on Thursday night, coming back from a 26-point deficit to beat Houston 99-98.
The Celtics took their first lead in the game’s final seconds after a bizarre final sequence that left the Boston crowd in hysterics.
With 11 seconds left, James Harden hit two free throws to put the Rockets up by three. Rather than holding for a final three-point shot to tie the game, the Celtics elected to score a quick two, with Jayson Tatum dashing to the basket for a dunk. The Celtics trailed, 98-97, with 7.3 seconds to go.
On the ensuing inbounds play, things went off the rails.
The Rockets were out of timeouts and had been struggling to inbound the ball throughout the final two minutes as the Celtics pressed. As Harden attempted to get open for the inbounds pass, he and Marcus Smart got locked up and Harden was called for an offensive foul when it was deemed he pushed off on Smart. That gave the ball back to the Celtics.
Celtics get a quick bucket ANDget the ball back! pic.twitter.com/6Rh50Ztj7H
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) December 29, 2017
Seconds later, Al Horford drilled a short baseline shot to give the Celtics their first lead of the game at 99-98 with just three seconds left.
On the next inbounds play, Harden was called for another offensive foul for again pushing off on Smart. The foul secured the win for the Celtics, who walked away with the 99-98 victory.
The radio crew calling the game for the Celtics on 98.5 The Sports Hub went nuts when the second foul was called (via ESPN’s “SportsCenter”).
“Take that with your beard,” indeed.
After the game, Harden expressed frustration with the calls, and noted the fact that there were only two referees working the game, as one of the officials sat out with a sore back.
“You can’t have two officials in a professional game,” Harden said. “There were a lot of no-calls that needed to be called because that changes the dynamic of the game. It’s a professional game, national TV. It can’t happen.”