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James Harden drew a ridiculous foul against the Bulls

James Harden drew a ridiculous foul against the Bulls

James Harden attempts 10.7 free throws per game which is a major factor in how he stays among the top scorers in the NBA every year. Game officials tend to fall for his tricks, and there was no greater example than what occured in Friday's 121-117 overtime win over the Chicago Bulls. 

Harden didn't get free throws as a direct result of this botched call -- he was 11 of 14 at the stripe and had 42 points -- but it led to Michael Carter-Williams being fouled out as he tried to front Harden

The call was awarded by Tony Brothers at 2:03 of the extra session as Harden, who is 6-5 and 220 pounds, literally hopped onto Carter-Williams' back for a piggyback ride and took him to the ground.

It's hardly the first time that this technique, if you call it that, was used by Harden. He did this to Jrue Holiday in a game against the New Orleans Pelicans last season.

That NBA game officials whistles this in favor of the offensive player is why John Wall had been annoyed earlier this season with the lack of respect from officials. It has led to nine technical fouls against the Wizards' point guard, but suffice to say if he took the tact the whistle is unlikely to be in his favor. 

When the Wizards lost a game in Houston a few seasons ago, it was Harden who grabbed then-Wizards forward Trevor Ariza (now his Houston teammate) to draw the foul and get the ball to win the game on a final possession.

Harden is a near impossible cover as it is because of his size and strength, but when he's gets the benefit of the doubt despite officials knowing his flair for salesmanship is hard to justify.

If the history of a player is taken into account when the league office deals out fines and suspensions for bad behavior, then why not raise the bar on what's a foul against players who do this consistently?

Will some calls that they deserve not be given because of reputation? Of couse. But until they clean up their act, erring on the side of caution and fairness is justifiable.

It'll never happen. But it should. This isn't a "superstar" calls. It's just a disgrace.

[RELATED: Paul Pierce: Isaiah Thomas is 'easily the best point guard' in the East]

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Reports: Kobe Bryant killed in helicopter crash outside Los Angeles

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Reports: Kobe Bryant killed in helicopter crash outside Los Angeles

Kobe Bryant was killed in a helicopter crash Sunday morning outside Los Angeles, per multiple reports. He was 41 years old. 

TMZ first reported that Bryant was one of five people killed when a helicopter crashed into a hillside in Calabasas, CA. Multiple news outlets confirmed Bryant was on board the helicopter, including Yahoo and NBC Sports

Bryant played in the NBA for 20 years for the Los Angeles Lakers, winning five NBA titles, one MVP award and two Finals MVP's.

He retired following the 2015-16 season, meaning this is the first year Bryant is eligible to be elected into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The 2020 Hall of Fame class is set to be announced at NBA All-Star weekend in Chicago next month. 

On Saturday, Lakers superstar LeBron James surpassed Bryant for third place on the NBA's all-time scoring list. 

As the news surfaced, players across the NBA and sports world expressed their sadness for the NBA legend. Wizards guard John Wall tweeted a broken heart.

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Rookie Rui Hachimura does full practice with Wizards, return not far away

Rookie Rui Hachimura does full practice with Wizards, return not far away

WASHINGTON -- The long-awaited return of Wizards rookie Rui Hachimura is getting closer, as he participated in a full practice on Saturday for the first time since suffering a groin injury back on Dec. 16.

Hachimura, 21, had no limitations, per head coach Scott Brooks. He went through all of their drills and full-contact scrimmages.

"He did well. He went through everything. That's another good day," Brooks said.

The final hurdle for Hachimura at this point involves getting into game shape. His conditioning is not close to midseason form after missing seven weeks of games.

Brooks said Hachimura definitely will not return before the end of the team's current road trip, which ends on Tuesday in Milwaukee. After that, however, it could be a matter of days.

 

The Wizards will return to Washington after playing the Bucks for a six-game homestand. It seems likely he is back by the time it's over.

The ninth overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, Hachimura has had a strong rookie season so far, averaging 13.9 points and 5.8 rebounds per game while shooting 48.2 percent from the field. The Wizards have gone 7-12 since he's been out.

Hachimura suffered the injury when he was inadvertently kicked between the legs by teammate Isaac Bonga. He required a minor procedure and was away from the team for weeks before slowly working his way back to basketball activities and then participating in practices.

Saturday was a big step in his recovery and it now puts the finish line into focus.

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