Golden State Warriors superstar Steph Curry was quite surprised after getting whistled for a traveling violation when he attempted a James Harden double step-back three whilst playing the Sacramento Kings on Saturday.
Harden caused a stir with the controversial move during a game against the Utah Jazz in December, more so as it went unpunished. And officials have since tried to sell it as a legal play, even after admitting that they missed what should have been a travel call after the game.
They should have expected that other players would try copying it as it's quite effective and probably creates more space than any other move. But apparently, it's not all that legal unless you're Harden.
Did Steph hold up a 13 on his jersey? 👀 pic.twitter.com/eL9Z3jw9M2— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) January 6, 2019
Curry, who hit 10 threes against the Kings on the night, attempted the double step-back to shake off De'Aaron Fox and launched a shot from distance but, to his surprise, was immediately penalized.
It helped that he missed the shot; the call was certainly less painful. And Steph would signal a "13" with his fingers to the officials as if to say "What about Harden?"
After the game, Curry joked that the refs didn't let him get away with the move because they realized that it wasn't Harden who was doing it.
“I’ve seen that once or twice. Tried it myself. Obviously they got confused. They knew it was someone else, so they called it," he said, per Anthony Slater of The Athletic.
Curry also added that he thought the move was "okay".
Steph Curry on throwing up a 13 to the referee after he got called for a travel on a James Harden like stepback: “I’ve seen that once or twice. Tried it myself. Obviously they got confused. They knew it was someone else, so they called it.” pic.twitter.com/hBGgaCcsk9— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) January 6, 2019
What This Means
NBA referees have been very inconsistent this season, and that's besides them being poor overall. A team of officials totally missed the most obvious out of bounds violation ever against Kevin Durant last week and there have been several other moments when it was clear that something should have gone the other way.
As for the double step-back move, the league would do well to offer some more clarity as they will continue to see players attempt to exploit the rules in order to gain an advantage.