James Harden ‘Not Making Any Excuses’ After Disappointing Return

James Harden admittedly had a tough time coming back to the 76ers lineup on Monday. Although the former MVP dropped 21 points, four rebounds, and seven assists, he also turned the ball over seven times and shot 4-19 from the field (4-11 from beyond the arc) during Philly’s 132-123 overtime loss to Houston.

Part of Harden’s disappointment comes from the fact that he’s on a minutes restriction, per head coach Doc Rivers. Yeah, Harden did play 39 minutes, but The Beard said having a monitored workload led him to be “all over the place.”

“I was all over the place,” Harden said, per ESPN. “I’m not used to it. But I’m not making any excuses. I have to do better.”

The 10-time All-Star added that he had to make his case to play in OT because Rivers didn’t want to play him.

“I had to fight to stay on the court just because there was a certain plan in place before the game started,” Harden said. “But once you go out there as a competitor, you want to try to win.”

For the time being, Harden will be looking to find his rhythm and swag after missing the last 14 games due to a tendon strain he suffered in November. The one thing we know about the former MVP is that he can find that mode again quickly as he attacks the rim to get to the free-throw line, and the more he shoots, the better it will be for him long-term.

“I didn’t play well, but I’ve got to be better, and I will,” he said.

Harden and the Sixers will look to take a step forward on Friday when they host the Lakers.