Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni reveals James Harden’s one flaw
It was only 1:59 left on the shot clock and James Harden was being guarded closely near the corner by Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard.
After a few more dribbles, Al-Farouq Aminu joined Lillard, double-teaming Harden and closing off any way of escaping. This was crunch time, and the score was 110-104 as the game continued to get more intense.
In an instance of a small step back, Harden launched and sank a three-pointer without hesitation. There was really no difference in single or double coverage, the leading MVP candidate had been on fire all night, and wasn’t going to let his team lose the lead they fought hard for before the final buzzer.
The Houston Rockets had just effectively doused the fire of a streaking Blazers team who had won 13 games straight, thanks in large part to Harden’s output.
Not long after the game, coach Mike D’Antoni called the bearded guard the best offensive player he’s ever seen. Many wouldn’t disagree with him either as Harden is having his best season yet, playing nearly unstoppable basketball displaying his shooting, driving and passing all season long and leading the Rockets to the league’s best record this season.
D’Antoni stopped short of praising Harden as the perfect player when revealing his one weakness as well.
He’s a hell of a player, first off. It’s a combination of everything. There are other players who might be better at this, or a little bit better at that. But when you put everything together, and the way he passes, the way he sees teammates, the way he can lob, the way he can fight through a foul. I mean even on an off night, he’s probably getting 30, 40 points, and I mean efficiently. And he doesn’t even have anything going. But he’s so efficient, and he gets other guys involved. … He’s got one flaw. He does get tired some. He’s mortal. And that’s it.
The guy who does a little bit of everything on the court is still susceptible to fatigue. It was a death blow to the Rockets in last year’s playoffs when the team flamed out in the Western Conference semifinals to the San Antonio Spurs, ending with Harden’s game-ending shot getting blocked from behind by a 39-year-old Manu Ginobili, as he walked off the court expressionless.
Chris Paul has helped cover that area very well taking some of the responsibility off of Harden, which has worked surprisingly well.
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