James Harden has best scoring half since joining Nets after self-reflection
It’s quite evident that James Harden hasn’t looked like the same player since joining the Brooklyn Nets. But judging by his first-half scoring outburst against the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday, it looks like he is slowly returning to the fearless gunner fans are used to seeing.
The Beard put up 18 points in the first 24 minutes of the Nets’ road game against the Hawks at State Farm Arena. Per ESPN’s Malika Andrews, this is the most Harden has scored in a half since donning Brooklyn’s colors.
The Nets and Hawks are tied at 55 at halftime.
James Harden's 18 first half points are his most in a first half since joining the Nets (via @ESPNStatsInfo). Harden has said that he is working on balancing looking for his shot and facilitating.
— Malika Andrews (@malika_andrews) January 28, 2021
While The Beard hasn’t exactly been bad since leaving the Houston Rockets, he’s been alarmingly timid upon teaming up with fellow superstars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. After back-to-back 30-point outings in his first two games in Brooklyn, Harden hasn’t scored more than 21 points in his next five appearances.
While he has embraced the facilitator role and increased his assist average to 11.3, heading to Wednesday’s match, pundits claim he is being way too passive, especially for a scorer of his caliber.
The one-time MVP heard his critics and revealed that he has done some self-reflecting in the Nets’ previous win over the Miami Heat.
“I was in a role for eight years, controlling the ball, dominating the ball. Now it’s a different experience for me, but it’s still great,” he said in an earlier ESPN report.
James Harden finally emerging from his slumber is indeed a good sign for the Nets, who are looking to improve on their 11-8 start as of this writing. His unselfishness to defer to his new teammates is indeed admirable, but it’s about damn time he gets his shots, too.