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James Harden attempting 4.6 less free throws per game

Despite boasting eight-straight games scoring at a 20-point-plus clip through the Houston Rockets’ 5-3 start to the regular season, shooting guard James Harden is attempting only seven attempts per game, which has impacted his scoring average.

The Beard is virtually playing with his same teammates in the starting five with Chris Paul on the sidelines, but he’s not been able to garner the career-high 11.6 attempts per game he had last season, according to ESPN Insider Bobby Marks.

This could likely be a direct result of the points of emphasis put forth for officials to look into who draws contacts and who looks to initiate it in an effort to clean up the game and make more accurate calls.

Harden led the league in free throw attempts last season, yet he continues to be an inefficient volume shooter from deep, making only 34.6 percent of his 9.8 attempts per game from distance.

While eight games is a short sample size for an 82-game season, Harden might have to adjust to the way the game is being officiated just as the officiating has adjusted to his physical brand of play.

The Rockets’ All-Star is averaging five turnovers per game, slightly less than the career-high mark of 5.7 from last season with a ridiculous usage rate of 34.5, second in the league to only Kristaps Porzingis.