James Harden made a move in the final minute of the Houston Rockets’ 102-97 win over the Utah Jazz on Monday that could have been called a travel. It was simply a missed travel at a critical time, leading to Harden’s shooting three free throws in a one-possession game with 54.6 seconds remaining.
Harden shuffled to his right for two extra steps on the step-back to get behind the 3-point line before being fouled by Jazz guard Ricky Rubio.
“You watch the play? What do you think?” Rubio said when asked whether he thought Harden traveled, not wanting to get fined for criticizing officiating. “I’m not going to answer, but I think 100 percent of the people know the answer.”
What should we call this James Harden move?
— SB Nation (@SBNation) December 18, 2018
Harden didn’t deny that he got away with a walk.
Houston improved to 15-14 by beating the Jazz, putting the Rockets in 10th place in the Western Conference standings.
James Harden tonight vs. UTA:
— NBA (@NBA) December 18, 2018
“We’re in a hole,” Harden said. “I keep saying the same thing, but you look at the standings and it sucks. Just look and see that you’re not where you’re supposed to be. We’ll just continue to work and build our way up there.”
Some people get to travel. Harden seems grandfathered in to that step back.