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Gregg Popovich.

Watch: Gregg Popovich was furious with officials after ridiculous call last night

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One of the subplots that has angered NBA fans and media has been the quick whistles by officials on 3-point shots.

James Harden of the Houston Rockets has been the league's biggest beneficiary of such calls and he's made it a part of his game.

Of course - and unfortunately - it's worked, as Harden has used the tricky method as part of his possible MVP season.

The trick was on full display in Wednesday night's Game 2 between the Rockets and the San Antonio Spurs in their Western Conference semifinals series, which is now tied 1-1 after San Antonio's 121-96 victory.

Harden scored 13 points on 3-of-17 shooting from the field and was 5 of 6 on free throws.

Those free throws came during two controversial calls that clearly didn't impact Wednesday's result, but could come at a crucial time later in this series or later in the playoffs.

You can't blame Spurs coach Gregg Popovich for laying some strong ground work of how he believes these plays should be called.

Here's a look at the most egregious of the calls from last night when Harden lunged into Spurs point guard Patty Mills, who was standing straight up defensively as the screen from Nene approached, with his hands straight in the air.

It was the second time during Wednesday's third quarter that Harden drew a foul while shooting a 3-pointer.

It's a horrible call, but what's even worse is it gives incentive for Harden and others to keep trying this maneuver, which is not basketball and not something anyone wants to watch.

Include Popovich in that group. Watch the brilliant veteran coach go after the official after the play, laying the foundation for the refs to ignore those types of calls going forward.

Check out the video, and if you're a master lip reader, you might even be able to parse out what he says. (That's a joke, it's easy to figure out what Pop is saying here in protest and it's definitely NSFW.

The defending of Harden also gave Popovich a chance to employ his signature dry wit during the post-game press conference.

When asked about putting Kawhi Leonard on Harden, Popovich responded with a nice quote.

"We put Kawhi on James because he's a good defender and James is a great player," Popovich said. "No rocket science."

Heh, rocket science. Get it?

This type of play could come up huge later in the series and it's something to keep an eye on.

Topics:
San Antonio Spurs
Southwest Division
Western Conference
NBA
Houston Rockets
Kawhi Leonard
NBA Playoffs
James Harden
Tony Parker

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