Mike D’Antoni doesn’t see James Harden’s scoring tear ending, ‘but it will’
Houston Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni has run out of superlatives to describe his star player James Harden, who has singlehandedly kept the team afloat in the midst of key absences in the lineup. Perhaps what’s been the most amazing part of his recent scoring tear is that all baskets have come unassisted, a trend his coach doesn’t see ending anytime soon.
“You don’t have to draw up anything,” said D’Antoni, according to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. “He gets his shot any time he wants it. He’s got his step-back going. When he has that, he gets as many 3s as he wants, about 15 (attempts) per game. Then he gets to the rim with ease. Other than people just double-teaming him and trying to take the ball out of his hands — that’s when the rest of guys have come into play, which they’ve been doing — I don’t see it ending. But it will.
“He just scores with an ease that’s incredible. Like, everybody tried to do the sky hook. Certain guys have certain talents. That (step-back three) is a hard shot. He just has mastered it.”
Harden’s scoring tear will indeed come to an end once Chris Paul and Clint Capela return to the lineup, but as long as he gets the ultimate green light to tee up as many shots as he wants with no conscience in sight, The Beard will keep shattering records and chasing those who came before him.
Harden has put up at least 15 3-point shot attempts in nine of his last 10 games. The one exception being a blowout loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday, which saw him miss the entire fourth quarter. He attempted 13 then.
One thing is sure, Harden’s tear will continue as long as he’s willing to shoot until his arm falls off — but once Paul and Capela return, he will be forced to dial back his aggression in hopes to make a playoff push and reincorporate his teammates into the fold.