How the Lakers exposed the NBA’s anti-bias against Rockets

Houston Rockets James Harden (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Houston Rockets James Harden (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

The Los Angeles Lakers’ latest move has provided further proof of how the NBA has a bias against the Houston Rockets.

The 2020 NBA playoffs were a disappointing one for the Houston Rockets, as the Los Angeles Lakers displayed that they weren’t legitimate contenders. The Lakers disposed of the Rockets within five games, and exposed the Rockets’ famed small ball approach.

But the Lakers have exposed several other things, starting with the double standard about how James Harden’s displeasure about getting snubbed for the MVP is proof that he doesn’t care about winning a title. Lakers forward LeBron James made identical comments about the 2019-20 MVP result, and didn’t face any criticism.

The Lakers’ latest move should provide further exoneration for the Rockets in the court of public opinion. With frustration regarding LeBron James not getting a favorable whistle from the referees, the Lakers went knocking at NBA commissioner Adam Silver’s door, to present their case and inquire about why James isn’t getting foul calls.

On the surface this seems like a wise decision by the organization, right? If they feel they aren’t getting the necessary calls, then why not make it known to the league office? No harm, no foul right?

Well there’s one thing that’s wrong with that. The Houston Rockets did the exact same thing after their 2018 postseason exit to the hands of the Golden State Warriors, and their findings were eye-opening, as outlined below:

  • They Rockets were harmed to the tune of 93 points during the 2018 Western Conference Finals
  • There was a double-digit deficit of potential points lost due to missed calls in six of the seven games
  • There were 18 lost points in Game 7 due to missed calls
  • There were multiple missed foul calls on 3-pointers during the Rockets’ notorious 0-27 shooting spell in Game 7

In spite of the findings, the Rockets received an inordinate amount of slander and ridicule, as their presentation to the league’s office was twisted and interpreted to mean they were blaming the referees for losing and were embarrassing themselves in the process. Except, the Lakers did the same thing and….crickets.

But it has to go both ways. If one team complains to the league office about a lack of fouls, and it’s viewed as a non-issue, then it should be a non-issue when any other team does it. By the same accord, if one team is viewed as blaming the referees, then it should be the same slander and reaction when another team does it.

There’s no reason why the treatment should be different, regardless of whether it’s the Lakers or not. But because the Rockets have consistently drawn the ire of those in the national media, there’s bound to be a double-standard.

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Thanks to the Lakers, this double-standard has been exposed, as it’s front and center following the Lakers employing the same approach as the Rockets, although they haven’t faced any backlash.