Rockets’ Austin Rivers defends James Harden from criticism
Although the Houston Rockets were unable to realize their goal of taking home an NBA Championship this season, it was still another stellar season for the team, and for James Harden. Appearing on ESPN’s First Take earlier this week, Rockets guard Austin Rivers defended Harden from his many critics.
Austin Rivers responds to @maxkellerman's criticism about James Harden not coming through for the #Rockets in the biggest moments: "The way we play is for him to do the things he does. I think that's a very hard thing to do in the playoffs." pic.twitter.com/BF6cM8D9Js
— Alykhan Bijani (@Rockets_Insider) June 7, 2019
Speaking in regards to the many criticisms about Harden not being able to come through for the Rockets during the teams biggest moments, Rivers downplayed it and noted that the Rockets offense is designed to revolve around Harden. “Our playing style, everything is through him. Our offense – everyone always talks about how we’re not the most fun team to watch – but that’s what our offense is designed to do,” he said. “The way we play is for him to do the things he does. I think that’s a very hard thing to do in the playoffs.”
Rivers also described Harden as a team-oriented player and noted that if the game plan called for Harden to distribute more, he would do it gladly. As it stands, however, the Rockets design their offense around Harden, and often require him to do a lot within it. Unfortunately for them, Harden seemed to simply run out of gas once again in the postseason, and the Rockets couldn’t get past the Golden State Warriors once again.
Whether or not that’s detrimental to the other players on the Rockets is up for discussion, but it does seem as if Rivers – and Harden’s teammates in Houston – have no problem with the superstar guard and his style of play.