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Mike D’Antoni insists Rockets aren’t bothered by hard double-teams of James Harden

Mike D'Antoni, James Harden, Rockets

Houston Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni insists his team isn’t bothered by opponents constantly throwing hard double-teams at James Harden, something that has bothered the superstar to the point of complaining in media sessions.

D’Antoni says this strategy should only help his team in the long run:

“It doesn’t bother us,” D’Antoni told ESPN’s Zach Lowe. “It’s like playing against a zone. The more James sees it, the easier it’s going to be. We are getting wide-open shots.”

D’Antoni admitted Harden may get frustrated with these double-teams at times:

“He’s gonna get frustrated,” said D’Antoni. “If we go long periods where guys aren’t making shots, he might try to do it all himself. And you couldn’t really blame him.”

Harden has been used to getting his way by drawing mismatches on offense and going one-on-one against a team’s worst defender, a massive part of his offensive success. Now that teams are aggressively double-teaming him and forcing the ball out of his hands, the Rockets’ offense is flowing better with a plus-one-man ball movement that generates open shots — yet those are shots Harden isn’t taking.

The Beard’s total shot attempts aren’t the issue, as he’s making only 43.1% of his 24 attempts per game and 33.8% of a career-high 13.8 3-point attempts per game. His free-throw rate is what concerns teams, as he’s burying an unprecedented 12.6 free throws per game at a 87.9% clip.

Harden has attempted double-digit free throws in 21 of 23 games this season — the only two exceptions taking place within the past five days, when he attempted a season-low six against the Toronto Raptors and eight against the Sacramento Kings on Monday. Harden had 23 and 27 points in those games, respectively, the lowest-scoring outputs since dropping 19 points in the season opener.

The post Mike D’Antoni insists Rockets aren’t bothered by hard double-teams of James Harden appeared first on ClutchPoints.

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