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Clippers announcer says James Harden’s style is ‘almost like cheating’ the game

Clippers, James Harden

L.A. Clippers announcer Don MacLean had some heavy criticism for star James Harden, as the Houston Rockets handed the Clips a 135-103 defeat in their own home court.

With the Rockets up 30 with 8:06 remaining in regulation, MacLean proceeded to pick at Harden’s game, as the lead grew even more with him at the foul line.

“I just feel like around this style, what Harden does, is manipulating the game somehow. It’s almost like cheating it somehow,” said MacLean. “Like I don’t really have a thought beyond that other than I’m watching something that isn’t basketball.

“To me, basketball is player movement, ball movement, designed plays, not just a guy walking it up and isolating every time. That’s why I brought up that point earlier: Who else could do this? It’s not like that’s within the system, he’s getting all these numbers. The system is built for him.”

Harden’s ridiculous numbers are very much product of a system that oscillates around him, making him more than a featured scorer, but the central point of it all.

His usage rate has been through the roof this season, partly due to the slew of injuries that have allowed him to play the style of aggressive one-on-one basketball he’s patented, but also due to the ultimate green light he’s gotten through coach Mike D’Antoni.

To say it isn’t basketball is to denounce an entire decade of basketball which was based around the isolation game, one the likes of Michael Jordan popularized with ruthless abandon in the mid-80s.

Harden has drawn plenty of criticism for his trigger-happy ways, but to call it “cheating” as an opposing announcer is in rather poor taste, especially as the home team gets handed a big loss in the way the Clippers felt it on Wednesday.

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