A fan in EnergySolutions Arena stumbled upon a bright idea to make the free-throw line far from a free shot.
The light bulb that went on above his head nudged him to shine a light into the eyes of opposing players at the charity stripe. James Harden, and a referee, noticed the distraction—discovered coming from a flash light—and the game between the Houston Rockets and the Utah Jazz abruptly came to a pause in the third quarter.
“Some guy was lasering me,” James Harden told the press. “I saw it the first time and I thought it was a picture being taken. I went to the foul line again and it happened again. The referee [Tom Washington] caught it before I did. That’s the first time that happened to me.”
Harden went 8-for-9 from the line on Monday night, scoring 30 points to lead the Houston Rockets to a narrow 93-91 victory. The Rockets and Jazz shot an identical 76 percent from the free-throw line. It’s not clear whether the man succeeded in making the charity stripe less of a gimme for Rockets players. The Rockets normally shoot 71 percent from the line. Harden normally shoots 87 percent on foul shots. He shot 89 percent Monday night.
“The game was stopped for several minutes while ushers and arena security looked for the perpetrator,” The Salt Lake Tribune reports. “In the end, it was a fan with a flashlight who was found to be the culprit, according to a Jazz official. The fan was escorted out of the arena and will receive a one-year ban from NBA arenas.”