Rockets’ James Harden not frustrated by aggressive double teams
NBA teams have constantly tried different ways to contain Houston Rockets star, James Harden. For the past several games, opposing teams have sent aggressive double teams to prevent the former MVP from getting to his spots. Harden is not frustrated at all by this new reality. In fact, he views this as a compliment to his game.
“For sure,” Harden said after scoring 35 points on 10-of-17 shooting in the Rockets’ 130-104 win over the Nuggets, per Tim MacMahon of ESPN. “Me and coach [Mike] D’Antoni talk about it all the time. That means that I’m doing something right, [that] I’m pretty good.”
Even when faced with aggressive double-teams, James Harden still finds a way to get his game going — which includes both scoring and dishing. For the season, he’s averaging at a whopping 38.3 points per game (first in the league), 5.9 rebounds, and 7.9 assists. Whenever the ultra-aggressive double-team arrives, Harden manages to quickly find the open man who then casually drains the shot.
Head coach Mike D’Antoni, for his part, isn’t really surprised that the Rockets have still been successful despite the tough defenses they face every game. He’s very confident in his team’s ability to adjust when faced with a new defensive package.
“We’ve seen it a thousand times. Every game,” D’Antoni said of doubles on Harden. “Guys were making some shots. We’re getting more comfortable with it. Russell was really good. It shouldn’t work in theory. If you just double [Harden], he throws it to Russell and it’s 4-on-3. We should score every time. … We’re not surprised by it. They don’t rush. You know, you see something that’s kind of odd. Now it’s not odd, so we should be able to handle it.”
The Rockets currently sport a 23-11 record for fifth in the West. With Eric Gordon back in the lineup and the emergence of Josh Hartenstein, the team has just gotten better.