James Harden is struggling, and that is one of the reasons the Houston Rockets have put themselves in an extremely vulnerable position as they head to Portland in an 0-2 series hole against the Trail Blazers. Harden was just 6 of 19 from the field in Game 2, finishing with 18 points and five turnovers. He scored 27 in Game 1 but still hit just 28.6% of his shots.
Harden has picked a terrible time to go ice cold, and a reporter reminded him of that on Wednesday night. He didn’t like when he was asked why he can’t seem to put the ball in the basket.
“It’s basketball – making shots,” Harden said before quickly moving to the next question, according to The Oregonian’s Mike Tokito.“I’m not worried about my offense. It’s basketball. You’re gonna miss shots. It’s basketball, like I said.”
After Harden had finished answering questions, he circled back around to the reporter who had apparently ticked him off. That reporter was NBA.com’s Frank Blinebury. Tokito described the uncomfortable exchange.
But when his media session in the Rockets opulent locker room ended, Harden went back at the reporter, asking if he had ever seen a player not play well before. The reporter answered that the struggle seemed unusual for Harden and was coming on a major stage, the playoffs.
The two went back and forth for a while, with Harden asking the reporter if he’d ever seen a basketball game before, then demanding to know whom the reporter was. The exchange got testy enough that team officials stepped in to usher Harden out.
As he left the room, Harden called the reporter “weirdo.”
In Blinebury’s defense, he was simply doing his job. Perhaps he should have focused his attention more on the fact that the Rockets can’t stop LaMarcus Aldridge (46 points in Game 1 and 43 points in Game 2), but Harden is supposed to be Houston’s best scorer. He was 3 of 14 from beyond the arc in Game 1. You can understand his frustration, but you can also understand why a reporter would ask about his struggles. Harden is one of the main reasons the Rockets are in a massive hole.