The only thing more epic than one “Flu Game?” Another, of course. Still, it’s safe to say James Harden would rather the possibility for it not to exist at all.
After receiving an IV prior to Game 5 and promptly recording a triple-double, the Houston Rockets superstar is still suffering from flu-like symptoms two days later – just hours prior to Thursday’s elimination contest against the Los Angeles Clippers. Here’s ESPN’s Calvin Watkins with an update on Harden’s status:
Houston Rockets guard James Harden is still dealing with the effects of the flu but is feeling better, according to sources, and is expected to play in Game 6 against the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday night.
The Clippers lead the best-of-seven series 3-2.
“He looked OK,” coach Kevin McHale told reporters on Wednesday. “He had a little bit of a cough. We just had a meeting and watched some film. We didn’t do anything. He looked OK.”
Obviously, the MVP runner-up is fully capable of dominating the action despite feeling ill. His 26-point, 11-rebound, 10-assist performance on Tuesday was easily his best of the Western Conference Semifinals. If not for broadcasters harping on Harden’s health and his shorter stints on the floor, you’d have had no idea he was anything less than 100 percent.
But one awesome flu-ridden game doesn’t ensure another. The Rockets have even less wiggle room for anything but their best at Staples Center tonight, and will need a game from Harden befitting his status as franchise cornerstone to force a do-or-die Game 7.
Should he lead Houston to victory on Thursday, The Beard’s legend will grow even larger – and the basketball world will have been lucky to watch it happen. Either way, though, we just wish he were fully healthy more than anything else. All players deserve to be at their best this time of year, and especially those of Harden’s rare esteem.
Let’s see if he can play that way again despite more mitigating circumstances. The Rockets and Clippers tip-off at 10:30 EST on ESPN.