Programming note: Watch the pregame edition of Warriors Outsiders tonight at 6, streaming live on the MyTeams app.
James Harden is extremely difficult to officiate. He flops more than anybody and he initiates contact more than anybody.
And when it comes to initiating contact, he doesn't just do it when he's driving to the rim. The reigning MVP seeks it out when he shoots from the beyond the arc as well.
On Monday night, ESPN's Scott Van Pelt showed the following video compilation on SportsCenter:
This is quite revealing.
As the video highlights, Harden was fouled on 3-point attempts a league-high 95 times this season.
Kemba Walker and Terrence Ross were second at 34.
That's a massive gap between No. 1 and No. 2.
By constantly kicking his legs forward when a defender contested his shot, Harden took advantage of the "landing space" rule.
In real time, it's very difficult for an official to make a split-second judgment, especially with Harden frequently falling to the ground.
Unfortunately for the Rockets, the officials didn't reward Harden in Game 1.