Despite being a future Hall of Famer, though, Harden is arguably the worst player to watch in NBA history. In Game 6 of the Nets’ second-round matchup against the Milwaukee Bucks, the 2017-18 MVP showed why so many basketball fans don’t like his style of play with a humiliating flop from the 3-point line.
James Harden is showing his toughness by playing through hamstring injury
Harden is showing his toughness and will to win in the Bucks series by playing through a right hamstring injury. He could barely move in Game 5 but still played 45 minutes. The Beard finished with five points, six rebounds, and eight assists in the Nets’ six-point win.
During Game 6, Harden looked more mobile and scored 16 points on 5-of-9 shooting from the field. However, the Nets lost by 15 points, setting up a Game 7 at the Barclays Center.
The good news for Brooklyn fans is that Harden is feeling better as each day passes. The former Houston Rockets superstar vowed to be better on both sides of the ball in Game 7.
“It’s about being able to move. Day by day, I continue to get better,” Harden said. “Last game, Game 5 was first time I did any movement since I got hurt. Tonight was no different. I’m out there to do whatever it takes to win. I got to be better on both ends of the ball, which I will be for Game 7.”
Harden deserves a lot of credit for playing on his hamstring injury because one misstep could sideline him for the rest of the playoffs or lead to a more serious ailment. Pundits used to question his commitment to the game, so it is certainly inspiring to see the lefty gut it out for his team.
However, as soon as Harden shows you something that makes you respect him, you immediately realize why you didn’t enjoy him in the first place.
James Harden’s flops are getting out of hand
During the second half of Game 6 against the Bucks, Harden shot a 3-pointer over Giannis Antetokounmpo and fell down on his own to draw a foul call. It was such an embarrassing play that even ESPN announcer Mark Jones said the Nets star was “falling before Giannis even got close.”
It’s these types of plays that make watching Harden difficult. He’s so focused on drawing foul calls instead of scoring that he’s falling on purpose instead of landing properly as every other shooter does. The refs did a good job of not falling for this trick.
Harden is a gifted scorer and playmaker. However, several fans don’t appreciate his greatness because of his flops, and it’s easy to see why. The refs need to continue to not fall for these flops and keep the integrity of the game intact.
The pressure is all on the Nets to win Game 7
The pressure is all on the Nets to win Game 7 since they are at home and were picked by so many pundits to win the championship after acquiring Harden from the Rockets. The Bucks have nothing to lose and should play loose and free.
Kevin Durant is averaging 33.3 points while shooting 50.3% from the field and 34.9% from beyond the arc against the Bucks. Since Harden isn’t at 100% and Kyrie Irving is out with an ankle injury, the two-time Finals MVP will once again have to carry the team offensively in Game 7.
It will be fascinating to see how Game 7 plays out. If Harden, Durant, and the Nets lose, they will have failed to meet the grand expectations which were placed on them when their superteam was formed and will face major questions heading into the offseason. It’s safe to say everyone outside of Brooklyn is rooting for the Nets to fail and lose to the Bucks.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference.