James Harden is usually a magician with the basketball, last night he decided to be Houdini.
In an overall disappearing act, Harden and Rockets were eliminated at home by the San Antonio Spurs in a 114-75 blowout. After only registering 10 points on 2/11 shooting and 6 turnovers, this was the fewest points in an elimination game by a player who averaged more than 25 points per game in the last 25 years via ESPN. With Kahwi Leonard and Tony Parker missing the game with injury, it’s just icing on the cake. Harden seemed out of sorts, wasn’t able to get to the free throw line often and was simply miniscule.
Harden told ESPN “Everything falls on my shoulders. I take responsibility for it, both ends of the floor. You know, it’s tough, especially the way we lost at home for Game 6. But it happened. Now we move forward.”
Harden averaged 29.1 points per game this season along with leading the NBA in assist at 11.2. But again, in the postseason he has pulled a Houdini, in reminisce of the 2012 NBA Finals. Maybe he should take up rapper Lil B’s offer to discuss lifting the “Based God Curse“. All in all, Harden is a really good player, but to be great you must persevere in the postseason. There were speculations of Hardens competitive spirit, health, sobriety and etc. after his performance. What makes it worse is that Harden went to the club afterward. The Rockets had the deck stacked in their favor; no Leonard and no Parker. It’s painful, but understandable when your leader and superstar isn’t in a “rhythm” as Harden noted, the rest of the team is bound to follow suit.
Was this meltdown above the infamous LeBron James flop against the Mavericks in 2011? Debatable. But that’s a separate point, ultimately, it’s disappointing because much was expected from the superstar guard. “You have to take it for what it is” says Harden. For Harden, I guess that will be on the chin.