James Harden Outlines Reason for Rockets’ Loss to Lakers

Published 01/11/2021, 1:50 AM EST
Dec 15, 2020; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden leaves the court after a victory over the San Antonio Spurs. Mandatory Credit: Mike Wyke/Pool Photo via USA TODAY Sports


The Houston Rockets have been struggling this season. Since the start of the new campaign, the Rockets have accumulated a 3-5 record this season. James Harden has found himself working with a new roster with Christian Wood, John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, and new head coach Stephen Silas. Harden’s future has been a major talking point throughout the off-season and regular season.

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James Harden not impressed with the Rockets’ defense

James Harden spoke to the press after the Rockets’ loss to the LA Lakers. The Rockets have lost three of their last four games, and their defense has been suspect during those games. Harden noted that the Rockets’ 21 turnovers were because they didn’t protect the ball better against a much bigger Lakers team, and their defense should have been better.

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He said, “We just weren’t secure with the ball. Our spacing wasn’t very good. (The Lakers) are a big team. When you don’t over-exaggerate your spacing, you get caught in areas you don’t want to be in. And that’s what happened last night.”

Harden’s comments about the Rockets’ defense come as no surprise. The Rockets have looked a solid offensive team, but have been poor on the defensive end of the court. Often times, they are outscored by their opponents in big games. Going forward, the Rockets must improve defensively if they wish to be a contender in the Western Conference.

Will The Beard stay in H-Town?

The Rockets’ form doesn’t bode well for their chances to keep James Harden. As noted earlier, Harden’s future is very uncertain. ‘The Beard’ put in a trade request after the Rockets’ collapse in the NBA bubble. What made matters worse for Harden was the departures of Mike D’Antoni and Daryl Morey from their respective head coach and GM positions.

Harden no-showed training camp and was seen partying outside of Houston on several occasions. Many questioned Harden’s commitment to the Rockets and assumed he was putting pressure on the franchise to grant him his trade request. This was further solidified when Harden returned to the team looking out of shape.

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Dec 28, 2020; Denver, Colorado, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) and guard David Nwaba (2) speak in the first quarter against the Denver Nuggets at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

However, Harden showed with his play that he is still an elite player in the NBA. Going forward, if the Rockets want to keep Harden on the team, they will have to improve significantly. On paper, they have a really good team with multiple former All-Stars, but these players need to step up.

Will Harden stay in Houston? Or will he force a trade to a different team? Harden’s future is far from clear. But it isn’t looking good for Houston, if they want to keep him.

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Aaditya Krishnamurthy

1313 articles

Aaditya Krishnamurthy is an NBA & NFL journalist for EssentiallySports, before which he worked at BusinessWorld magazine. He has been a fan of Basketball for over 10 years now, since Shaquille O’Neal was a Phoenix Suns player. During his time at Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts, he started a sports magazine for the college called the Overtime Tribune and hosted the Overtime Tribune Podcast until he graduated.

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