Evidence James Harden Didn’t Play Much Defense Against The Mavs

11.16.15 2 years ago 6 Comments
James Harden

USA TODAY Sports

Fairly or unfairly, James Harden has developed a reputation for being… well, not the best defender in the NBA, to put it kindly, or not so kindly (they’re teammates now, too!).

Harden has shown in the past that when he’s engaged defensively, he can make impactful plays on that end of the floor, but the problem is that he often seems to take plays off.

Such was the case on Saturday, when Harden and the Rockets hosted a short-handed Mavericks team playing without Dirk Nowitzki, Chandler Parsons or Wesley Matthews. Even without their big three, Dallas beat Houston 110-98, due in no small part to defensive breakdowns like these:

That would be Deron Williams with the smallest bit of effort cruising right past Harden for an easy layup after turning the corner on the high screen. Then there was Devin Harris burning Harden on the backdoor cut, and Dwight Powell just dribbling past him after briefly getting bodied when he received the pass. Three buckets, all largely the result of Harden’s defensive effort.

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