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Rockets GM Daryl Morey is happy with how James Harden has played in the playoffs

Daryl Morey, James Harden, Rockets

Despite the fact that his team is currently trailing the Golden State Warriors by a tally of two games to none in the Western Conference Semifinals, Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey is pleased with James Harden’s level of play overall in the playoffs.

Morey recently sat down for an interview with Sam Amick of The Athletic. Amid their discussion, Morey pointed out Harden’s improved defense and efficiency through the early stages of this postseason:

“Defensively, I think, one thing that’s been nice is that people have seen (Harden’s) improved (defense),” Morey told The Athletic. “We don’t hold Utah down to really low point totals (in the first round) without his defense. I’ve been really happy with how he has played.

“His overall efficiency has been pretty solid,” Morey added. “He’s been real good. Again, the issue is that against Golden State we unfortunately don’t need them to be good. Nearly all of our guys need to be great. There’s just no margin for error. We just need everyone to be better starting in Game 3, and I think we will be.”

Harden has indeed been “really good,” as Morey says, though he hasn’t been at his regular-season levels and his efficiency could be better. He has played in seven games this postseason, racking up averages of 29.0 points on 37.7 percent shooting from the field (33.7 percent from beyond the arc), 7.1 assists, 6.4 rebounds, 2.1 steals and 1.0 block in 36.4 minutes per outing.

Harden took an inadvertent finger to the eye from Draymond Green while jockeying for a loose rebound in Tuesday night’s Game 2 loss. Harden went down in obvious pain after taking the blow, but he managed to continuing playing — even through bloodshot eyes. Tests taken later revealed no damage to either of his corneas, and he’s expecting to be available for Game 3.