James Harden Struggling Against the Miami Heat Defense

by June 19, 2012

The Miami Heat’s defensive plan has focused on keeping James Harden under wraps during the NBA Finals — and succeeded. For the OKC Thunder to have any chance at winning the title, Harden will need to find a way to break out. From the Oklahoman and Sun-Sentinel: “Harden entered this championship series averaging 17.6 points in the postseason. He had connected on 45.2 percent of his field-goal attempts. Against the Heat, Harden has averaged 11.7 points on 40.7 percent shooting. He has registered as many fouls (11) as he has assists. ‘He’s their most efficient player when you let him get to his whole package,’ said Battier. ‘We just have to keep making him work. Keep him off the foul line and try to keep running him off the 3-point line.’ […] ‘We know he’s a big part of their team so we just try to keep him from going off,’ said Heat guard Mario Chalmers. […] Harden was asked how he can counter. ‘Keep making right plays,’ Harden said. ‘Keep passing, keep finding my bigs and my shooters. They did a great job I think of moving the ball this time, and sometimes the ball gets stick, and that’s where the defense comes into effect, so you have to continue to move the ball and share with one another.’ […] ‘I’m not just a scorer,’ said Harden. ‘Obviously, I didn’t have 20 points on the stat sheet but I had six assists, six rebounds, pretty good defense. That’s my role, whatever it takes to help us win, guarding [LeBron James] in the fourth quarter, trying to be physical and finding ways to impact the game, not just scoring.'”