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Morning links: Are James Harden's step-back 3-pointers travels?; Donovan Mitchell 'ignores the rules'

Utah Jazz guard Ricky Rubio (3) holds his face after Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) elbowed him in the mouth during Game 4 of the NBA Playoffs at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City on Monday, April 22, 2019.
Utah Jazz guard Ricky Rubio (3) holds his face after Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) elbowed him in the mouth during Game 4 of the NBA Playoffs at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City on Monday, April 22, 2019.
Steve Griffin

During the course of the Jazz-Rockets playoff series, some Jazz fans have been frustrated about the lack of traveling calls on Houston's James Harden, particularly his step-back 3s.

Joe Borgia, the NBA's senior vice president of replay and referee operations, appeared on NBA TV to discuss why two Harden step-backs in Houston's Game 4 loss to Utah were not travels.

The plays that were discussed happened with 8 minutes left in the second quarter and 8:24 left in the third quarter in Game 4. Both moves were Harden's patented step-back 3-pointers, his signature move that led him to his first MVP award last season.

Borgia said that Harden's step-back 3s are legal.

"Our rule states that when a player is dribbling the ball, he is allowed to take two steps after he ends his dribble. If you watch here, Harden ends the dribble with his left foot on the floor. That is zero. That's not a step. When he takes a step with the right and left, that's a one-two, and he does it on both these plays. He ends on the left, and then he goes right, left, and jumps and makes his jump shot. So it doesn't matter whether it's a player driving to the basket, ending his dribble on his left, he's allowed a right, left, and a layup. Doesn't matter whether you go sideways, backward or forward — when you dribble the ball, once you end it, you are allowed two steps after it. Per rule by the NBA, that's a legal shot," Borgia told NBA TV.

Donovan Mitchell 'ignores the rules'

Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) throws down a monster dunk during Game 4 of the NBA Playoffs at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City on Monday, April 22, 2019.
Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) throws down a monster dunk during Game 4 of the NBA Playoffs at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City on Monday, April 22, 2019.
Steve Griffin

Simply put, Donovan Mitchell dominated the fourth quarter in Utah's Game 4 win over Houston. Mitchell saved the best of his game for last, scoring 19 of his 31 points in the fourth quarter. Mitchell singlehandedly outscored the Rockets 19-12 in the final period, with the exclamation point coming on an incredible alley-oop finish that sent the Vivint Arena crowd into a frenzy.

On ESPN's The Jump, host Rachel Nichols broke down Mitchell's Game 4 heroics, how he took over the fourth quarter to send the series back to Houston, and how he broke all of the conventional playoff "rules."

Other links...

The Athletic's Chantel Jennings does a 'deep dive' on Utah football heading into the 2019 season

On how Jakob Poeltl did his homework to guard Jokic, his one-on-one defense, screening on offense and what makes him a one-percenter vs. the Nuggets

Ricky Rubio compliments the Vivint Arena crowd

And finally...

RSL midfielder Kyle Beckerman has been through a number of hairstyles throughout his playing career. Here are all of them: