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James Harden wants to keep that losing feeling from West Finals

Houston Rockets star James Harden, the league’s reigning MVP, was just one game away from reaching the NBA Finals last year. As he enters another season, achieving that same feeling again serves as motivation.

Speaking on the sidelines of Team USA’s minicamp, Harden recalled the moment when his team was up at halftime in Game 6 and 7 of the Western Conference Finals. They needed another strong half to finish the Golden State Warriors off to advance.

“That was a good feeling, but that feeling that I had in that Western Conference finals, with basically one half to go,” Harden told Brian Windhorst of ESPN. “I know [Chris Paul] got hurt but that one half, that feeling, I need that feeling back. I’ll try to work my butt off, and mentally lock in as much as I can to get back to that feeling.”

To recall, the Rockets entered Game 6 up 3-2 in the series. In Game 5, towards the end of regulation, Paul suffered an injury which ruled him out of the entire series. The Warriors took advantage of Paul’s absence in Game 6 as they pummeled the Rockets 115-86.

Come Game 7, lady luck simply left the Rockets’ side. It was a heartbreaking sight. Almost everything they threw from downtown didn’t fall. But judging Harden’s words and behavior, he won’t let another win slip away from them. That feeling of almost beating the Warriors is something he craves for.