Following Tuesday night’s 115-111 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers, NBA sideline reporter Dennis Scott asked Houston Rockets guard James Harden to explain what goes through his mind when he sees opposing bigs switch to him on defense. Without hesitation, the six-time All-Star offered up one of Shaquille O’Neal’s witty catch phrases.
“When you see the big guys switch out on you, do you go into your bag and say there is no way a big can guard me?” Scott asked Harden during his post-game interview.
“Barbecue chicken,” Harden replied with a quick grin.
The chef was cooking on Tuesday night. In his 33 minutes of playing time against the Trail Blazers, Harden racked up 42 points on 13-25 shooting from the field (5-7 from beyond the arc), seven assists and six rebounds.
Harden knocked down a pair of threes in the closing phases of Tuesday night’s win over the Blazers, who were riding the wave of a 13-game winning streak.
“This doesn’t just happen,” Harden told ESPN after Tuesday’s game, referring to his shot from distance. “I am constantly working on it every day, every single day. I am trying to get better and improve. I’m still doing that.”
“I just try to wait for the defender to make his move,” Harden continued. “When he gets to where I want him to be, then I take my shot. It’s all about rhythm, timing.”
Harden and the Rockets — now the No. 1 seeded team in the Western Conference standings with a 57-14 overall record — will be back in action on Thursday night, as they’re scheduled to host the Detroit Pistons. Tip-off inside the Toyota Center is set for 8:00 p.m. EST.