Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni confident James Harden can keep his level of play through playoffs
Houston Rockets star James Harden is in the midst of one of the most historic seasons in NBA history. Harden is likely to become the first player to average over 36 points per game since Michael Jordan in the 1986-87 season, while also adding 7.6 assists and 6.5 rebounds per night.
In looking to become one of just 12 players to win back-to-back MVPs, Harden has had to do it all for the Rockets in the midst of team injuries and roster shakeups.
“The Beard” has racked up a 40.61 usage percentage according to Basketball-Reference, which is second in NBA history.
Despite having to do just about everything for the Rockets, Houston head coach Mike D’Antoni believes he will be fresh for the playoffs.
In an interview with Sam Amick of The Athletic, D’Antoni said:
Well one is he does have CP in the playoffs, and he doesn’t have to do everything in the playoffs. I think that’s where he got tired. Not that he got tired in the summer. He got tired in the playoffs because he had to do everything against a great team every night, and it’s not like you have a lesser team come in and you can take a night off, so I think he’s fine. I think that’ll help, and I think he has put in a lot of extra work. His body is much better. His body fat is down. He’s eating right. He’s taking care of himself, and then we’ll see. I mean we’ve still got to do it. He’s cut more than ever…He has done a lot more work. He’s all in.
With four games left in the regular season, the Rockets hold a half-game lead over the Portland Trail Blazers for the third spot in the Western Conference standings, while Houston is a game and a half back of the Denver Nuggets for the second seed.
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