This column deserves a trillion in your box score as a writer.

James Harden represents so many things fans hate about basketball: constantly forcing the refs to decide on block/charge calls because he initiates contact; slowing the game down at the free throw line; flopping; no defense (he’s better this year, but should he be rewarded after all those years of matador defense?); and always pushing the line with traveling.

He has invented a ridiculous move where hooks his left arm around his opponents arm in some MMA style death grip, drags his opponent a couple of steps, and then raises both arms in unison to take a shot. It’s an most obvious offensive foul, but the refs gets suckered by Harden’s move 99% of the time.

He also created a new kind of forced foul where he crashes into an opponent who has bounced off an illegal Houston screen like a ragdoll. Instead of getting called for an offensive foul, the refs give him three free throws every time.

What he’s doing is ugly and not in the spirit of basketball, as he has no intention of taking a normal shot. At least with Lou Williams and Nick Young, they pump fake and often make a shot while being fouled to get a four-point play.

I can’t think of a worse outcome for the NBA than to have Houston be rewarded with a spot in the Finals when they are ruining the sport.

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Ad agency creative director, writer & designer at https://guttmanshapiro.com. Former pro tennis player and peak performance coach for professional athletes.

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