James Harden Continues to Struggle in the NBA Finals

by June 20, 2012

An image of James Harden’s game has been on a milk carton throughout the championship round, which is a big part of why the OKC Thunder are one loss away from going fishing. Per the Oklahoman: “In the Thunder’s 104-98 loss to the Miami Heat in Game 4 of the NBA Finals on Tuesday night, Harden shot just 2 for 10 from the field, 1 for 5 from 3-point range, had four turnovers and committed five fouls. On a positive note, he finished with a team-high 10 rebounds, but managed just eight points — less than half his season average. Harden missed shots from far and near at American Airlines Arena. Several wide-open attempts rattled in and out. […] Despite all the struggles, Harden still played nearly 37 minutes for the simple reason his coach still believed in him. ‘I believe in all of our guys,’ Scott Brooks said afterward. ‘James has put us in a position to be where we are. He had a tough shooting night, but he competed, he battled, he fought, he defended, he was guarding one of the best players in the game. I don’t judge a guy’s game on shots, on makes and misses. This game is about makes and misses. Some nights you’re going to make those, some nights you’re going to miss them, but your effort has to be there. I love James’ effort and that’s all I judge him on. If he wasn’t playing hard, yes, I would have taken him out earlier and sat him and put somebody else in. We have a standard of play and effort-wise I think everybody lived up to it tonight.’ A near-unanimous selection as this season’s Sixth Man of the Year, Harden has struggled throughout the Finals, shooting 35.1 percent (13 for 37) from the field, 28.6 percent (4 for 14) from 3-point range and averaging 10.8 points the first four games. […] ‘Of course, any basketball player would be frustrated if his shot’s not falling, but you’ve got to stick with it,’ Harden said. ‘It’s basketball. You don’t make (all your) shots every single day, every single game. I’ve got to go back tomorrow in practice, work on my mechanics and be ready for Thursday.'”