James Harden Shrinks In The Playoffs Again As The Lakers Take 3-1 Series Lead

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The Lakers took a commanding 3-1 series lead over the Rockets after another forgettable James Harden performance. The NBA ticker tells you he had 21 points, but further digging shows why he lost Houston another big game.

NBA Twitter uncovered some of the harsh truths that need to be understood on James Harden. The Arizona State product has single handedly shot the Houston Rockets out of an NBA title opportunity. No one’s arguing the Rockets are a better team than the LeBron-AD Lakers, but making two shots in almost 40 minutes of play can’t happen.

Worth noting most people that watch the NBA see Harden as a manipulator of the whistle and in this game, he got it. Usually if James Harden gets to the line more than THE ENTIRE OTHER TEAM, he’s effective. The eight-time all-star managed to take 20(!) free throws in game four and stunk it up so bad from the floor, it didn’t matter.

As a team, Houston shot the ball fine, so any argument that Harden isn’t the arsonist to this fire storm of an offseason died during this game. Westbrook 25 points on 50% shooting from the floor, along with Eric Gordon’s 19 points with 4 three’s, and Austin Rivers coming strong off the bench.

No excuses

PJ Tucker struggled in game four with 0 points and Mike D’Antoni was inexplicably challenging calls in the first quarter. Any and all offensive contributions from PJ Tucker should be considered icing on the cake and here’s why: PJ Tucker is guarding Anthony Davis. A 6’5″ 245 pound Tucker is responsible for slowing down one of the game’s best (if not THE best) offensive big man.

Tucker is absolutely gassed on the offensive end and he should be. The offense is left as James Harden’s job and he managed two freakin’ baskets.

After watching James Harden reek up the court in another big game, it’s time to throw the blame on him. He’s been god awful in any game that demands their superstar to come up big. . Instead of recognizing him for things that don’t matter like his beard, let’s save his coaches and teammates their jobs. Put the blame on the truly deserving.

We should recognize him as none other than the ASTRO-WORLD Regular-Season Bandit. Void of any postseason expectations and a front office full of excuses. Rockets GM blamed Chris Paul last year, big man Clint Capella the year before that, so maybe this is the year? Probably not.

Written by Gary Sheffield, Jr

Gary Sheffield Jr is the son of should-be MLB Hall of Famer, Gary Sheffield. He covers basketball and baseball for OutKick.com, chats with the Purple and Gold faithful on LakersNation, and shitposts on Twitter. You can follow him at GarySheffieldJr


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  1. Accurate assessment of Harden’s play. It was clear from the first round series vs OKC that the Rockets were going nowhere. Maybe the commentators can finally stop obsessively hyping the Rockets “small ball” strategy as if it’s revolutionary. They’ve been getting absolutely crushed by the Lakers in the paint. Missed opportunity because the Lakers have looked uneven at best.

  2. As an Arizona Wildcat alum, I take some pleasure in seeing James Harden struggle in the playoffs. He can’t shake the narrative he has rightfully earned. I guess he will have to take solace in being the NBA regular season champion- where teams don’t play defense and the refs readily call fouls.

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