Rockets’ James Harden has never had a positive plus-minus in 4 season-ending playoff losses to the Warriors
The regular season for James Harden was a footprint in NBA history. Harden became the first player since Michael Jordan in 1987-88 to average at least 36 points per game, carrying the Houston Rockets during a season that saw a multitude of injuries and personnel changes.
While Harden continued his scoring run into the playoffs, he was mostly absent in the fourth quarter of Game 5 and Game 6, whereas Golden State stars Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson rose to the occasion without Kevin Durant on the floor.
The Rockets had repeatedly said they were hungry to face the Warriors again in the playoffs, and yet the result was the same in 2019. For Harden in particular, Golden State seems to be like kryptonite for “The Beard” in big games.
Tim Kawakami of The Athletic noted that Harden has never had a positive plus-minus in four closeout games against the Warriors:
In four series-ending losses to the Warriors, Harden was -4 in Game 5 of the 2015 conference finals, -27 in Game 5 of the 2016 first round, -13 in last year’s Game 7 (after his -19 in Game 6 of that series) and -10 on Friday.
Harden scored 31 points in an efficient Game 5 performance, but he made just one field goal in the final 10 minutes and scored just five points total in the fourth quarter. In Game 6, he committed a pair of critical turnovers in the final two minutes that would essentially doom any chance of a Rockets comeback.
The Rockets have now been bounced by the Warriors in four of the last five seasons, and this series did very little to enhance Harden’s reputation as a postseason performer.