The most apt comparison for James Harden‘s struggles through the first two games of the first-round series against the Blazers, was the 2012 NBA Finals. He shot 18-for-48 against the Heat in that series and after another off-night Wednesday in Houston’s Game 2 loss, he is now 14-for-47 through two games. Unfortunately, he compounded his second straight poor performance by getting into a little tiff with a reporter in the post-game presser then calling the reporter a “weirdo” as a Rockets PR rep moved him along.
When a reporter from a national organization asked him about his struggles, he got short.
“It’s basketball – making shots,” Harden said before moving onto the next question.
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.”
The reporter from a national organization was Fran Blinebury of NBA.com. In his recap of the game and Harden’s struggles for The Hang Time Blog, like the good reporter he is, omits the back-and-forth with Harden except for the Beard’s original quote:
In the Rockets’ 122-120 overtime loss in Game 1, Harden shot just 8-for-28 and followed it up in the 112-105 Game 2 loss by hitting just 6 of 19. It is his worst two-game shooting stretch of the season.
“I’m not worried about my offense,” Harden said. “It’s basketball. You’re gonna miss shots. It’s basketball, like I said.”
Despite the roiled emotions, Harden was pretty succinct about Game 3:
"Game 3 is our season." James Harden
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) April 24, 2014
Then again, some are wondering whether James is developing a rep as a tough guy to deal with:
Harden's developing that Deron rep of players media guys hate dealing with
— Ethan Strauss (@SherwoodStrauss) April 24, 2014
We’re all weirdos.
We’re not deliberately trying to pile it on, except to show you this recent set of clips from one of our favorite video editors, @J_069. J. put together a pastiche of Harden’s atrophied defense earlier in the year, but found quite a few more clips to use later on this season. This doozy went live earlier this week:
It’s worth mentioning Harden averaged 25.4 PPG this season, and he’s going to be named (rightfully, in our minds) First or Second Team All-NBA. He shot better than 45 percent from the field this year and 36.6 percent from beyond the arc. He can still wiggle into the lane and to the rim for a foul or a bucket better than just about anyone else in the league, and the Rockets will need him to find his stroke in time for what is sure to be a loud Game 3 at the Moda Center in Portland on Friday.
Will Harden get it together in time for Game 3?
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