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Mike D’Antoni says James Harden has a mastery of the game

Rockets, Mike D'Antoni, James Harden

Houston Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni had high praise for James Harden after Thursday night’s victory over the Boston Celtics.

D’Antoni, who’s been with the Rockets since 2016, says Harden has a mastery of the game.

“It’s hard to describe,” D’Antoni told The Athletic, referring to Harden’s recent play. “He has a mastery of the game and a control and an ease at which he plays. It’s fun to watch. If you’re on this side, it’s fun.”

Harden, the NBA’s reigning MVP, led all scorers in Thursday’s 127-113 victory, racking up a whopping 45 points on 11-of-26 shooting from the field (9-of-18 from beyond the arc), six assists, two rebounds and one block.

D’Antoni also noted that Harden has been putting in extra hours to keep his body in top form.

“He comes in and does extra work,” D’Antoni said of Harden. “He knew he had to take his body to one more level up. He had to get into a better rhythm. He’s been playing a lot of one-on-one. He’s been doing a lot of extra work in the weight room. He’s been putting his time in. Obviously, it’s paying dividends.”

Harden has established himself as one of the best shooting guards in NBA history. He’s currently leading the league in scoring, but he’s also become a menace on the defensive end of the floor.

In his 31 appearances with the Rockets this season, Harden has racked up averages of 32.7 points on 44.4 percent shooting from the field (38.2 percent from beyond the arc), 8.3 assists, 5.5 rebounds and 2.1 steals in 36.7 minutes per outing.

James Harden and the Rockets will be back in action on Saturday night, as they’re scheduled for a matchup with the New Orleans Pelicans. Tip-off inside the Smoothie King Center is set for 7:00 p.m. ET with NBA TV having live broadcast coverage.