James Harden is undoubtedly one of the best scorers in the NBA today. His 2335 points for the Rockets in this season so far are undeniable proof of just that. However, Houston Rockets’ Game 7 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder will not be remembered for Harden’s offense, but for his defense.
The Beard scored 17 points, 9 assists, and 3 rebounds in the game. However, Center Robert Covington remained the star throughout, with a double-double, and matching the 21 points scored by forward player Eric Gordon. Further, Russell Westbrook had a rusty Game 6, missing some easy shots, but managed a 20-point Game 7.
The final 16 seconds in the game were tense. The OKC were trailing by just one point with the ball in the steady hands of Chris Paul. He was one-on-one against Danuel House when CP3 had all his options available. He could have attempted a long three-pointer, with Steven Adams running in to force rotation in the Rockets’ defense. Instead, he caught a deflection and the ball finally reached Luguentz Dort. What followed this became history.
James Harden remembered his clutch time defense and told the media, “I’ve been locked in, obviously, all year long, trying to be better. Tonight was a huge emphasis on it, so you know, came up with a big block to win the game. I just try to be engaged as much as possible offensively, had a rough shooting night, you know, turned the ball over a little too much. But tried to follow the ways to impact the game, came up with a huge block to end the game.”
Dort wasted no time and went straight for a three-pointer attempt. James, at that micro-second, was guarding Steven Adams. But Harden quickly left him in a flash and reached Dort to make possible a crazy block.
James Harden did not particularly have a very extraordinary series, defensively. But offensively, he faired almost close to how he performed the last year when the Rockets lost the semis to the Warriors.
The Step Daddy received good support from his team, and that’s the reason they could collectively march ahead from a tight battle. Even in the media conference, he acknowledged his team’s constant encouragement. His regular-season average remained 34.3 points per game, but we are yet to see that monstrous side of James Harden in the NBA Playoffs 2020. Maybe it’s the Los Angeles Lakers that can force him to bring that out in Round 2.
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