James Harden Restricted the idea that this postseason run would be different from his previous postseason failures with a win in Game 7 on Wednesday Oklahoma City Thunder. The three-time scoring champion and one of Twitter’s favorite low targets won a game and a series. Houston Rocket With his defense, stop Luagentz there On a potential game-winning shot. The popular image of the series is forever dodging Harden, Per Akimbo, trying to throw the ball out of his bounds to save his possession by dorting to shed some light on the last truth of the night: this game There was no greater Harden moment.
Still, the former MVP came out on top in a big moment, and it happened for the same reasons it always does. Harden’s style of play is less impressive in the postseason, and a memorable moment won’t change that.
Harden shot 4-of-15 off the field in Game 7. The former is about this, but ultimately, to some extent, the result of randomness. Harden doesn’t usually go 1-for-9 on a 3-pointer. The latter is scary depending on the process. In the biggest game of the season, recovering from his co-star injury, Harden made just 15 field-goal attempts. Harden had just eight games in his entire regular season in which he took less than 16 shots. The brilliant save of Blame Dort you want, but a year ago, Poet Leonard Managed in up to 39 shots Jimmy Butler And Ben Simmons In his face. LeBron James, A much more active star than Harden on most nights, Verage Breast makes 23.4 field-round attempts in Game 7, and dropped to just 20 in a single stroke.
It is a superstar’s responsibility to control crime in the biggest games of the season, but Harden, one of the most used players in history, has just another mysterious disappearance in his leader. He had already taken 2 different 11-11 shooting nights in close-knit losses, first against Golden State in 2015, and then again against a Leonard. Spurs 2017. Despite a different role in the team, Harden tried just 9.6 shots per game in the 2012 NBA Finals, and hit only 37.5 percent of them.
Even Game 6 was a crazy showcase of Harden’s big-game trap. Russell Westbrook Dominance over crime As Harden took just one shot in the final four minutes of the match. Houston played five full things in that time that Harden did without touching the ball and at number one, he got the only touch that started it. Game 7 was no different. Harden scored just four fourth-quarter points.
The simple suggestion here is that Harden doesn’t want the ball in big moments, but it’s not that easy. Harden played some of the best playoff games to his name, even though he was known for his worst matches. An explanation like this is that a lot of the scoring weight he carries all season makes him tired with the advent of the postseason. Harden’s love … nightlife Probably not even ideal for conditioning.
The mid-season interval offered a theoretical recovery. Perhaps four months of rest would have allowed him to be refreshed in the postseason, but Westbrook and the injured Eric Gordon Forced him to carry the heaviest load in the bubble. A consistent second-half 3-pointer date missed in Game 4, Westbrook’s final absence, supports the notion that his legs are damaged.
Many of Harden’s postseason memories come from the front of the rim, but while fatigue is an explanation, it’s not an excuse. Everyone is tired in the playoffs. The best players play through it. Whether it’s his conditioning habits or the burden on his team, he needs to make some changes to stay fresh in the playoffs. Load management exists for a reason. Math suggests that shooting 3-points and 0-for-27 in Game 7 of the Western Conference Final is just bad luck, but it ignores the fact that when a team has only one true shot-maker And he’s a shot-maker. Tired of making shots, his teammates usually miss out on the bad looks they finally get.
There’s a need to argue that his beautiful free-throw overall forgives some of his lesser efforts, but it’s not as if Harden matches his regular-season production on that front. His free-throw efforts have been steadily declining since his regular season’s five breasts in five post seasons, often significant. Harden has averaged 10.9 free-throw attempts per game in the last three regular seasons … but only 8.3 in the following season. This should not surprise anyone. Vices become very rare in the playoffs, especially in Game 7. Tuesday’s Game 7 match between Denver and Utah, for example, had 28 total free throws. Harden found himself in the regular season. His personal career-high is 27. His nine attempts in Game 7 were, once again, less than seven of his seasons below.
This free-throw hunt becomes difficult in a setting that disappoints Harden’s style of play. His 3-point percentage has been on the postseason for five consecutive years since the regular season because he can’t pull the three-shot foul that he often sells. Fewer calls to the rim make his drives less important. One form of crime that becomes more valuable in the postseason is an area in Floor Harden that is regularly overlooked. Chris Paul Tried 37 mid-range shots in the series. Harden took 20 … throughout the regular season. He took a ged truth from a game in the series.
Logic supports that shot profile. It is flawless and reliable with this analysis that long enough specimens, 3-pointer, layup and free-throw are the most valuable shots on the floor far and wide. Those shots have arguably made Harden the biggest regular-season offensive player in NBA history, but the thinking behind him ignores the critical difference between regular-season and postseason basketball. Playoffs do not offer enough sample size to rely on the law of truth. The defense takes away the best looks from the floor and forces the superstars to suppress the looks that compete in the less expensive areas. Paul took the ninth-most mid-range jumpers in the NBA this season, hitting 54 percent of them. Not surprisingly, he was the NBA’s top clutch scorer this season. Houston has had the top five offenders only once in the last six seasons. It came during the 2017-18 season, Paul’s only healthy year as a rocket.
Paul probably shouldn’t be a better clutch scorer than Harden. He is quite young, and although not an elite athlete, at the age of 35, Paul has lost significantly more on the front than Harden, who is still in his presidency. But Paul’s more varied offensive play gives him a deep bag of tricks to get him out of the way when it comes to counting. Defenders don’t know what he’s going to do at the last minute because he could do almost anything.
But Harden’s game is predicted to do only a few things at such an elite level that, overnight, outweighs its consistency. But defending Harden in seven games predicts him. He’s going to take a step, or he’s going to drive. Houston doesn’t even have a true center to use the screener anymore. Time makes it easier to defend. Thunder, by the end of the series, solved MVP of Stun.
This does not mean that he is sad forever or that he is The lake In the second round there is a lock to defeat the rocket. If anything, he’s in favor of Match Harden. Danny Green And Kentavius Caldwell-Pope There are good defenders, but they are not Dort.
But it does point to a larger trend, one of the biggest reasons Harden has not yet won the championship. His history of being small in big games is no longer a coincidence. This is an explanatory trend. And an unbelievable block went to one side, Harden needed 11 3-pointers Robert Covington And Eric Gordon just to avoid the first round. If the pair had even shot 50 percent from behind the arc, he would have just pleaded guilty to another postseason insult.
And the fact that they don’t mean that this playoff race is going to be any different. Harden fell short in Game 7, which is why he’s gotten so small at times in the playoffs, and a good defensive game doesn’t magically cure those issues. They’re probably going to re-present their ugly heads as Huston moves on in the postseason, and while Thunder wasn’t good enough to punish them, a good defensive game is almost enough to overcome this crime. Will not be enough. Lakers or Clears.