James Harden says he is not taking playoff matchup against Chris Paul personally
Chris Paul and James Harden had an imperfect partnership in Houston, but there does not appear to be any lingering bad blood now that the two are set to meet in the playoffs on opposite sides.
Addressing reporters on Monday ahead of the Rockets’ first-round series against Paul and the Oklahoma City Thunder, Harden said that he was not taking the matchup against his former co-star personally.
“I’m trying to win games and a playoff series,” said Harden, per Salman Ali of ESPN 97.5 in Houston.
Harden and Paul were teammates for the previous two seasons in Houston. While the on-court product worked out better than many critics anticipated and they very nearly upset the Kevin Durant-era Golden State Warriors in the 2018 playoffs, the two stars did not always get along too well.
Paul was dealt to the Thunder last summer for Harden’s new running mate, Russell Westbrook, who will miss the start of the series with a quad injury. While this is not the first time Paul and Harden have met in the postseason (Paul’s LA Clippers played Harden’s Rockets back in 2015), plenty of eyes will still be on the two ex-teammates throughout the first-round matchup.