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James Harden, Chris Paul blast ref Scott Foster after Rockets lose to Lakers: 'For sure it's personal'

Sporting News logo Sporting News 2/22/2019 Dan Bernstein
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The Rockets' disdain for referee Scott Foster reached a new height Thursday night after a loss to the Lakers in which Chris Paul and James Harden fouled out, P.J. Tucker was whistled for five fouls and Paul and coach Mike D'Antoni were assessed late technical fouls.

After the game, Harden called Foster rude and arrogant (per The Ringer). Paul, who has criticized Foster before, expressed disbelief at what he perceived to be unfair treatment from the veteran official.

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"I've met with the league with him before. I don't know what else to do," Paul told reporters, according to ESPN's Rachel Nichols.

Paul reportedly was part of discussions with the NBA in February 2018 aimed at improving relations between players and referees. Since then, Rockets fans have taken to social media to rip Foster for how he officiated three of the team's playoff games last year, each of which Houston lost.

The interactions between Foster and the Rockets on Thursday will bring renewed scrutiny — and likely fines from the NBA for Harden and Paul, who offered their harshest criticisms of Foster to date.

The Rockets led by double digits in the third quarter and appeared primed to pull away from the Lakers, but they collapsed in the fourth quarter. The meltdown was punctuated by two offensive foul calls on Harden and a sixth foul on Paul, the latter whistle leading to the technicals on Paul and D'Antoni. LA hit the subsequent free throws to essentially seal the game.

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