Houston Rockets guard James Harden arguably had his worst shooting game of the season in Game 3 against the Utah Jazz. The reigning MVP missed his first 15 shots of the contest. He made his first basket 40:26 into the game on an easy flush in semi-transition.
Harden dunk with 7:34 left, his first field goal. Rockets up 86-83.
— Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) April 21, 2019
Nonetheless, the Rockets survived and escaped Salt Lake City with a 104-101 victory to give Houston a commanding 3-0 lead in this best-of-seven first round series.
Harden entered the payoff period with eight points – all from the charity – on 0-of-14 shooting. Despite his struggles all night long, this didn't stop the NBA's scoring champion from firing away.
Harden eventually had a massive fourth quarter, scoring 14 points in the period on 3-of-6 shooting from the field and 6-of-6 shooting from the charity stripe. As he has done for many times this season, he also came through for Houston in the clutch.
The MVP candidate nailed a crucial 3-pointer with 1:11 left in the fourth quarter to give a the Rockets a 4-point cushion after Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell dropped his own 3-pointer in the previous possession. He, likewise, made two clutch free-throws with 42 seconds left to once again put them up by four after Mitchell made a layup on the previous play.
Harden, who finished with 22 points on 3-of-20 shooting from the field and 14-of-16 from the free-throw line, apparently did not know that he started off the game 0-of-15. He did speak about his shooting woes after their victory and said that he needs to keep being aggressive despite the struggles.
Nevertheless, The Beard received plenty of help from his supporting cast, led by All-Star point guard Chris Paul, who finished with 18 points, four rebounds, and four assists. Four other Rockets finished in double figures.