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Dwyane Wade flops big time after James Harden fakes him out (GIF)

Dwyane Wade James HardenDwyane Wade was beat by James Harden during Tuesday night’s Houston Rockets-Miami Heat game, so he reached into his bag of dirty tricks to bail himself out.

After Harden caught him with a fake and got past him, Wade pretended like he was hit by a flailing Harden arm and went down for the count. I’m pretty sure this was at the end of the first half and Harden was called for an offensive foul on the play. Hopefully the NBA will review the play and hit Wade with a flopping fine.

And come on, Wade, what’s up with that? Did you see Mario Chalmers pulling any of that crap when Harden just abused him off the dribble on this play?

Maybe Wade learned the move from LeBron, a known flopper who says “any way you can get an advantage.

GIF via @_MarcusD_

James Harden rubs his beard on Trevor Ariza (Video)

Trevor Ariza James HardenNow this is just plain weird. After the Houston Rockets beat the Washington Wizards on a last-second layup by James Harden Wednesday night, Harden appeared to wipe his beard on Ariza’s chest.

Was Harden doing that in a disrespectful manner? Was that his answer to Ariza talking some trash after the game? That’s my guess. Harden sort of flopped on Ariza to draw a foul with four seconds left and then made a free throw to pull the Rockets within one. That game-changing call meant Harden could drive to the rim for a two instead of heaving a three for the win.

Whatever the motivation, yuck. I’m sure that beard’s full of cobwebs, bread crumbs and bits of candy, not to mention all the sweat from just playing a full game. Nice James, real nice.

H/T Michael Lee

James Harden’s strep throat so bad he struggled to drink water

James HardenJames Harden has been playing for the Houston Rockets despite being ill.

The Rockets guard scored 31 points in a surprising Game 5 win over the Thunder in Oklahoma City on Wednesday night, which was extremely impressive considering he was sick and later diagnosed with strep throat.

Harden still played in Game 6 despite the illness.

During Game 6, ESPN’s Holly Rowe reported that Harden’s throat was so bad during Game 5 that he had difficulty drinking water during timeouts. Rowe says Harden had to spray his throat with Chloraseptic to numb it before drinking water. Harden also had an IV at the hospital on Thursday.

Harden still played plenty of minutes and was Houston’s top scorer in the first half of Game 6.

He’s not exactly going to be remembered like Michael Jordan was for the “flu game,” but Harden’s effort is pretty impressive nonetheless.

James Harden makes great play to get 2 for 1 at end of third quarter (Video)

James-Harden-2-for-1The Houston Rockets turned their matchup against the Oklahoma City Thunder into a series with a 107-100 Game 5 win on Wednesday night. The Rockets now trail 3-2 in the series with a chance to even things up at home on Friday. While it is unlikely that they come back, anything can happen with Russell Westbrook watching from the sidelines.

One of the most important plays in Game 5 came at the end of the third quarter, courtesy of James Harden. With 35.9 seconds left and the Rockets leading by nine, Harden let the ball roll all the way beyond half court before touching it. He then picked it up and quickly drained a three, leaving 33.2 seconds on the clock.

Kevin Durant made a basket on the other end of the court, but Harden’s smart play left Houston enough time to hit another shot before the quarter ended and extend their lead to 87-75. DeAndre Liggins clearly should have put some pressure on Harden to make him pick the ball up, but instead he just sat there and watched and helped give Royce White a reason to run his mouth after the game. We call that outsmarting the opposition.

Evolution of James Harden’s beard

James Harden has become almost as well known for his beard as he is for is All-Star play for the Houston Rockets.

Harden had a trimmed beard during his two seasons in college at Arizona State from 2007-2009, and then he began growing it out while he was with the Oklahoma City Thunder. The beard has been featured in fruit displays and on buildings. It’s gotten so out of hand that even Harden’s mother wants him to cut it. But the beard remains and it has become an identifiable feature. Someone even put together the above timeline of his beard and the thread became popular on Reddit Monday. I bet most people can’t even remember what Harden looked like before the beard.

Photo credit: Richard Rowe, US Presswire

James Harden goes behind back, between legs on crazy crossover (Video)

James Harden James Harden took it back to the playground against the Sixers on Saturday. The Rockets guard went behind his back and then between his legs on a crossover dribble to shake Jrue Holiday on a fastbreak in the fourth quarter.

That’s the kind of move you expect to see in some And 1 game, not during an NBA contest. Who even thinks of doing that on the fly?

Harden finished with 29 points in Houston’s 107-100 loss to Philly. He is fourth in the NBA in scoring. Despite getting fooled on that play, Holiday had 30 points and nine assists as he continues to play at an All-Star level.

James Harden high-fives imaginary teammates after technical free throw (Video)

James Harden has been more than just one of the best players in the NBA since he was traded from the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Houston Rockets before season. Harden scored more than 36 points in his first two games with the Rockets and is averaging a whopping 25.9 points per game through the early part of the year, but he’s apparently also an entertainer.

As you can see from the video above that The Big Lead shared with us, Harden high-fived his imaginary teammates on Monday night after sinking a technical free throw in the second quarter of a loss to the Miami Heat. Either he’s superstitious and has to stick to the same routine after shooting free throws, or Harden was making a pretty funny mid-game joke.

In only seven games with Houston, we now know more than ever why people sculpt fruit arrangements and delicious cakes in honor of the man with the beard.