Taj Gibson lauds James Harden after ‘MVP’ performance
Minnesota Timberwolves forward Taj Gibson had nothing but praise for a James Harden MVP-like performance against the Houston Rockets on Sunday night, starting to earn his stripes in playoff contention.
Harden led all scorers with 44 points, eight assists, and four rebounds on the night, burying 7-of-12 of his shots from beyond the arc, preventing the Timberwolves’ second-half surge and keeping the ship steady in a 104-101 win on Game 1 of the playoff series.
“He’s an MVP candidate and you know why,” said Gibson, according to ClutchFans. “Every time the game was… in a tight spot, he just took over the game. We were trying to throw everything at him.”
“He just played phenomenal tonight.”
The Beard dropped 25 of his 44 points in the last 18 minutes of the game, showing just how his game has elevated since a disappointing Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinals last year.
Besides Chris Paul and Clint Capela, Harden could only muster single-digit scoring help from the rest of his teammates, including marksman Trevor Ariza, who finished with three points in the outing.
“I’m glad he’s over here and I’m on the same side as him,” said Ariza.
Harden is slowly re-writing the narrative of his playoff history, and it’ll take some more performances like this to wipe the sour taste in fans’ mouths after a painful loss to in-state rival San Antonio Spurs in 2017.