A lot of NBA analysts have talking about James Harden’s flop in Game 3 of the Mavericks-Thunder series, in some cases going so far as to call it a fine-worthy offense.
If you missed the incident, Harden essentially pulled a WWE maneuver, pretending to take an elbow to the head from Tyson Chandler after driving to the basket for a layup. It was a phantom elbow to be sure. Chandler didn’t touch Harden. Still, Harden collapsed and writhed in pain. Here’s video:
Normally, I’d be with the boo birds on this one. Flopping sucks. It’s a detriment to the game whether we’re talking about basketball, soccer or backyard frisbee toss. But in this case, I have to side with Harden.
This was a retaliation flop if I’ve ever seen one.
DeShawn Stevenson has been egregiously flopping all series (including two in Game 3 previous to Harden’s). Every time Kevin Durant so much as brushes him on a clear out, Stevenson’s on his back like he’s Sasha Grey. Harden’s flop was merely a response to that.
Durant is a quiet guy who plays the game the right way. That means no flopping and no complaining, an endearing quality that makes him one of my favorite players in the game. But if Stevenson’s flopping every 10th play and getting away with it 2-3 times per game, it gives Dallas a competitive advantage. Harden knows that, hence the flop.
His Beardedness was simply trying to tip the competitive balance back to neutral, away from Stevenson, and I’m okay with that.
If he gets fined, they better give one to Mr. $5 Neck Tattoo too.