James Harden addresses rumored beef with Chris Paul ahead of playoff matchup
Houston Rockets shooting guard James Harden isn’t taking the team’s first-round matchup against Chris Paul and the Oklahoma City Thunder personally.
Harden and Paul reportedly had beef last season and the Rockets traded Paul to the Thunder for Russell Westbrook. The future Hall of Famer commented on the upcoming series against Paul and his new team.
James Harden says he doesn’t take this matchup with Chris Paul personally: “I’m trying to win games and a playoff series.”
— Salman Ali (@SalmanAliNBA) August 17, 2020
Paul and the Thunder finished with the same record as Harden and the Rockets this season. It’s incredible how stellar OKC played despite losing Westbrook and Paul George in the same offseason.
With Westbrook expected to miss the first two games of this series, the Thunder could possibly pull off the upset. Westbrook is dealing with a quad injury and it’s unknown when the former MVP will return to the Rockets’ lineup.
For the third consecutive season, Harden led the NBA in scoring. The Beard averaged 34.3 points per game in 68 starts. Harden shot 44.4 percent from the field, 35.5 percent from beyond the arc and 86.5 percent from the free-throw line. He’s an MVP finalist, though Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo is widely expected to win for the second straight year.
Harden has never been to the NBA Finals with the Rockets. He’s gotten close a few times, none closer than in 2018 when Houston took the Golden State Warriors to seven games in the Western Conference Finals.
Ironically, if Paul didn’t get hurt in Game 5 of that series, the Rockets may have defeated the Warriors, which would’ve given Harden his first appearance in the NBA Finals with the Rockets and second overall.
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