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

It was another eventful game between the Houston Rockets and 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.

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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2019 NBA All-Star weekend highlights
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CHARLOTTE, NC - FEBRUARY 16: Hamidou Diallo jumps over Shaquille O'Neal to shoot the ball at the AT&T Slam Dunk during the 2019 State Farm All-Star Saturday Night at Spectrum Center on February 16, 2019 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)
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CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - FEBRUARY 16: Shaquille O'Neal reacts as Hamidou Diallo #6 of the Oklahoma City Thunder dunks over him during the AT&T Slam Dunk as part of the 2019 NBA All-Star Weekend at Spectrum Center on February 16, 2019 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Team LeBron's Karl-Anthony Towns, of the Minnesota Timberwolves, heads to the hoop against Team Giannis' Giannis Antetokounmpo, of the Milwaukee Bucks, during the first half of an NBA All-Star basketball game, Sunday, Feb. 17, 2019, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - FEBRUARY 17: Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Team Giannis dunks against Team LeBron in the fourth quarter during the NBA All-Star game as part of the 2019 NBA All-Star Weekend at Spectrum Center on February 17, 2019 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Team LeBron won 178-164. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - FEBRUARY 17: Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks and Team Giannis goes up to dunk against James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets and Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors and Team LeBron in the fourth quarter during the NBA All-Star game as part of the 2019 NBA All-Star Weekend at Spectrum Center on February 17, 2019 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Team LeBron won 178-164. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - FEBRUARY 17: Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors and Team Giannis dunks against Team LeBron in the fourth quarter during the NBA All-Star game as part of the 2019 NBA All-Star Weekend at Spectrum Center on February 17, 2019 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Team LeBron won 178-164. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - FEBRUARY 17: LeBron James #23 of the LA Lakers and Team LeBron drives to the basket against Team Giannis in the first quarter during the NBA All-Star game as part of the 2019 NBA All-Star Weekend at Spectrum Center on February 17, 2019 in Charlotte, North Carolina. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - FEBRUARY 17: Members of Team LeBron watch play from the bench in the third quarter during the NBA All-Star game as part of the 2019 NBA All-Star Weekend at Spectrum Center on February 17, 2019 in Charlotte, North Carolina. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - FEBRUARY 17: Russell Westbrook #0 (L) of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Team Giannis reacts as Dwyane Wade #3 (R) of the Miami Heat and Team LeBron looks on in the second quarter during the NBA All-Star game as part of the 2019 NBA All-Star Weekend at Spectrum Center on February 17, 2019 in Charlotte, North Carolina. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - FEBRUARY 17: Paul George #13 of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Team Giannis celebrates a shot against Team LeBron in the second quarter during the NBA All-Star game as part of the 2019 NBA All-Star Weekend at Spectrum Center on February 17, 2019 in Charlotte, North Carolina. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - FEBRUARY 17: Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks and Team Giannis celebrates with Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors against Team LeBron in the second quarter during the NBA All-Star game as part of the 2019 NBA All-Star Weekend at Spectrum Center on February 17, 2019 in Charlotte, North Carolina. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
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