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Rockets’ James Harden addresses ‘flat’ Game 4 performance

James Harden, Rockets, Lakers

Houston Rockets superstar James Harden vaguely suggested that a bothersome knee greatly hampered his performance in the Rockets’ 100-110 Game 4 defeat at the hands of the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday. This marks Houston’s third consecutive loss to the Lakers after winning the series opener, as they are now one defeat away from playoff elimination.

Asked post-match what led to his lack of aggressiveness for most of the game, The Beard did not elaborate much and simply acknowledged the reporter for asking a good question. However, Harden curiously fiddled with the ice pack on his right knee shortly after and looked straight at the direction of the reporter.

Was Harden sending out a cryptic message? Or was it just pure coincidence? Check out the clip shared by the Washington Post’s Ben Golliver.

James Harden and the rest of the Rockets were blitzed by the Purple and Gold right from the opening tip in Game 4. The 8-time All-Star finished with a quiet 21 points, 10 assists, four rebounds, two steals, and three blocks in 39 minutes. He was dreadful from the field going just 2-for-11 and missing five of his six three-point attempts.

The 31-year-old’s lack of aggressiveness showed since he usually has more than six triple attempts before halftime. This marks Harden’s second-fewest triple tries in the entire 2019-20 campaign. The only saving grace for Harden was that he went to the foul line 20 times and made 16 of those trips.

As a team, the Rockets (30-of-39 from the free-throw line) had more charity stripe trips than LA, who went 15-for-16. They also won the 3-point battle, going 14-of-33 (42.2 percent) to the Lakers’ 9-of-30  (30 percent). Still, their spirited run came up short.

Houston will look to prolong the series in Game 5 on Saturday.

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