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#pounditTuesday, September 22, 2020

Articles tagged: James Harden

Houston radio hosts get into heated on-air argument over James Harden

James Harden

There’s nothing unusual about two sports radio hosts having an animated debate about a polarizing athlete like James Harden. What we have seen far less of, however, is two hosts become so angry with one another that one walks out of the studio. That’s what happened this week with Jayson Braddock and Patrick Creighton.

Braddock and Creighton host a weeknight show together on ESPN 97.5 in Houston called “Late Hits.” On Tuesday, they were discussing whether or not the Houston Rockets should consider trading Harden. Creighton became frustrated with Braddock for throwing ideas around about trades without doing actual research, and Braddock didn’t seem all that intent on debating his co-host. That led to Creighton berating Braddock for not putting effort into the show.

Eventually, Braddock called Creighton a “b—-” several times before taking off his headset, screaming at his partner and walking out. You can see the heated exchanged below. Beware that it contains inappropriate language.

The producer wisely cut the feed after the F-bombs started flying, but that certainly was not a good look. You have to think some disciplinary action is forthcoming.

We haven’t seen a fight that intense since two hosts were kicked off radio row at the Super Bowl.

James Harden: Danuel House situation hurt Rockets in playoff series loss

James Harden

The Houston Rockets’ season came to an end on Saturday, and James Harden says the Danuel House situation did not help matters.

The Rockets won the first game of their Western Conference semifinals series with the Los Angeles Lakers before losing the next four. The final three games of the series were played without Danuel House.

House did not play while being investigated and later thrown out of the NBA Bubble for having an unauthorized guest in his hotel room.

Harden says the situation hurt them in two ways.

“It affected us because of the distraction and he was a huge part of our rotation. But we still had to go out there and compete and try to win games,” Harden said.

Not only did the Rockets have to think about the distraction, but they also lost one of their starters for 60 percent of the series. House averaged 10.5 points in 30.4 minutes per game this season. He added 11.4 points and 5.8 rebounds per game in the playoffs.

Going up against the Lakers is not easy with a full roster, let alone down a key player.

The Lakers now advance to the Western Conference Finals for the first time since 2010, when the late Kobe Bryant was leading the team. The Rockets will have to contemplate their future, which could include a head coaching change.

Mike D’Antoni hints that James Harden needs to play more aggressively

James Harden

Down 3-1 to the Los Angeles Lakers, the Houston Rockets need James Harden to be more assertive.

Addressing reporters on Friday, Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni hinted that the All-Star guard would have to play more aggressively, per Salman Ali of ESPN 97.5. D’Antoni said Harden had the right approach to double teams but added that “there are some times he needs to be a little bit more selfish.”

Harden was mostly invisible in Houston’s Game 4 loss to the Lakers on Thursday, recording just two made field goals. He seems to be struggling with passivity ever since Russell Westbrook returned to the lineup. The Lakers have also done an excellent job on Harden defensively.

The Rockets still believe they can come back to win the series. But for that to even be remotely possible, Harden probably has to go into takeover mode.

James Harden, Russell Westbrook privately working together ahead of Game 3

Russell Westbrook

Russell Westbrook has yet to really get going in the Western Conference Semifinals, and James Harden is eager to help him fix that.

Harden revealed Monday that he and Westbrook got together privately after the Houston Rockets’ Game 2 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. The goal was to find ways that they could both improve going forward.

Harden has been very good, shooting 56.3 percent from the field and 50 percent from three-point range through the first two games. Westbrook has not. He’s been held to 17 points per game on 35.9 percent shooting. He’s just 2-of-12 from three so far, and has 12 turnovers to 14 field goals.

Westbrook has put up some poor performances since returning from a quad injury. The Lakers are content to let him shoot. The guard has to be smarter than that, and perhaps defer to Harden as long as the hot hand is elsewhere.

James Harden shares key to Rockets’ success against Lakers

James Harden

The Houston Rockets defeated the Los Angeles Lakers 112-97 in Game 1 of their Western Conference semifinals series on Friday night, and James Harden knows what keyed the win.

Harden was the high-scorer in the game with 36 points, but that wasn’t his focus afterwards. Instead, he said it was on the defensive side of the floor where Houston will need to win.

“Our defense. That’s what’s going to get us where we want to go. I keep preaching it, but defensively, if we’re engaged … this is the best team in the West. If we can hold them under 100 points defensively, we got something. Just keep that same mindset,” Harden said in his postgame interview.

The Rockets held the Lakers to 42.2 percent shooting. The Lakers’ 3-point shooting really hurt them once again, as they were just 11/38 from beyond the arc.

The Rockets now have a 1-0 series lead in the best-of-7 series. The Lakers fell behind 1-0 against Portland in the first round before winning the series in five games. By no means should Houston get ahead of itself. But if they can keep the Lakers under 100 points as Harden said, you have to like their chances.

Video: James Harden drops curse word during postgame interview

James Harden

James Harden didn’t play his best offensive game in the Houston Rockets’ 104-102 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 7 of his team’s Western Conference first-round series on Wednesday night, but he came up with the plays when they were needed. Harden knew that immediately.

The Rockets star was just 4/15 for 17 points in the win, but he had a key block in the final seconds to help his team get the win.

“Offensively I played like s—“, Harden acknowledged in his postgame interview. “Excuse my language.”

“I couldn’t make a shot. Turning the ball over. Just doing everything that’s not supposed to happen, but I kept sticking with it. My teammates gave me confidence throughout the course of games. And defensively I tried to make a play,” Harden said.

Harden was off with the long ball and shot just 1/9 on threes, but he had two steals and three blocks.

P.J. Tucker had four steals and Robert Covington had three steals and three blocks in the win.

Here is an unedited video of Harden’s interview:

James Harden knows where Rockets went wrong in Game 6

James Harden

James Harden knows where his Houston Rockets went wrong in their 104-100 Game 6 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round of the playoffs on Monday night in Orlando, Fla.

The Rockets turned the ball over 22 times in the loss, compared to 19 for OKC. Russell Westbrook, who was playing in just his second playoff game since returning from a quad injury, turned the ball over seven times. Two of his turnovers came in the final two minutes of the game, taking away valuable chances for the Rockets.

“A lot of careless turnovers. Including myself. Just too many turnovers, especially in a playoff game — a closeout game — just gave them too many opportunities,” Harden said after the game.

“I think defensively we did a pretty good job. We just shot ourselves in the foot by turning the ball over and giving us less opportunities to score.”

Westbrook had an ugly turnover with his team down 102-100 and under 10 seconds left in the game that was hard to ignore.

Westbrook needs to be better and everyone seems to recognize that. Harden turned the ball over five times in the loss. And they got shown up by Chris Paul.

Game 7 between the teams will be on Wednesday.

Video: Frustrated James Harden knocks over hand sanitizer machine after loss

James Harden

James Harden took out some frustration after his Houston Rockets’ loss on Monday on a hand sanitizer dispenser.

The Rockets lost a tight contest against Oklahoma City 117-114 to even the first-round playoff series between the teams at 2-2. Upon exiting the court in Orlando, Fla., Harden pushed over a hand sanitizer dispenser.

Harden was the high scorer in the game with 32 points, eight rebounds and 15 assists, but he was unable to pull his team to victory.

After going up 2-0 in the series, the Rockets have now lost two games in a row to the Thunder. Game 5 between the teams will be on Wednesday. You know Harden has extra motivation to beat Chris Paul’s team, regardless of what he says.

Chris Paul says he has no relationship with James Harden

There was significant tension between James Harden and Chris Paul toward the end of their time in Houston together, and it sounds like the pair won’t be in a rush to renew acquaintances personally when they meet in the Western Conference playoffs.

In an interview with Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, Paul said that he and Harden aren’t “enemies,” but the pair don’t communicate and don’t have any real relationship after spending two seasons together in Houston.

“We don’t talk, communicate or anything,” Paul said.

Paul is right that ex-teammates don’t need to be best friends, but he’s pretty honest about where things stand with Harden. The two may not be enemies, but they’re certainly not friends, and Harden’s words on the relationship back that up.

Harden and Paul clashed, particularly at the end of their time together last season. It adds an interesting subplot to the Rockets-Thunder series, but it ultimately sounds like the two star guards will be respectful but indifferent toward each other.

James Harden says he is not taking playoff matchup against Chris Paul personally

James Harden

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.