James Harden’s will to win questioned by Kendrick Perkins, Channing Frye
James Harden was obliterated by a duo of former players after the Houston Rockets’ latest loss, an ugly 126-106 defeat at the hands of the Orlando Magic. The Rockets trailed by as many as 32 points in a game that was never competitive.
Kendrick Perkins and Channing Frye saw no fight in The Beard, and they weren’t afraid to call it out on Twitter:
I’m starting to question if James Harden got the Hunger for winning?! It’s in excusable hows he’s been playing lately as if he don’t care about winning!
— Kendrick Perkins (@KendrickPerkins) March 8, 2020
I’m glad I’m not the only one that sees it! There is literally no passion for winning or making winning plays! https://t.co/at145LCAUG
— Channing Frye (@channingfrye) March 9, 2020
This isn’t the first time Harden’s will or motivation has been put in question. The Rockets star is famous for his scorching runs as much as he is for his lulls on offense and defense.
During the last four games, Harden has failed to shoot over 37% in any of those outings, mustering 32.5% on 20 shot attempts per game and a feeble 19% on 10.5 3-point tries.
The Rockets have now lost four games in a row after receiving praise for their conviction to a small-ball lineup that got them six wins in a row at the tail end of February.
Harden’s March numbers look the same on a surface level (26.0 points, 6.5 rebounds, 8.0 assists), but his efficiency has taken a giant hit in these losses, as have his turnovers (5.3 in the last four games).
The Rockets have now slid down to sixth place in the West and are in danger of careening down even further. The Dallas Mavericks are only a full game behind and could take a massive tiebreaker if they beat the Rockets in the last two matchups of the season.
The Mavs will have a home-court advantage in their Mar. 23 and Apr. 7 matchups, and if Harden doesn’t start showing some life by then, the Rockets could quickly see their playoff fate take a turn. Houston’s record sits at 39-24 on the season.