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James Harden surprised he started 0-of-15 in Game 3 win vs. Jazz

Rockets, James Harden

If you would’ve watched the first few quarters of the Houston Rockets’ Game 3 matchup against the Utah Jazz, you would quickly forget that James Harden has an MVP award under his belt.

Harden went 0-of-15 to begin the game before finally turning it on before the final buzzer sounded. Worse yet, he didn’t even know it, if you believe what he told ESPN’s Cassidy Hubbarth in his postgame interview.

Despite their best scorer looking like a shell of himself early on, the Rockets would ultimately pull out the 104-101 come-from-behind victory.

Harden still awkwardly finished with a team-high 22 points, thanks to 14 makes on 16 attempts from the free throw line. He shot 3-of-20 from the field on the night. While the offensive game was mostly offbeat, the 29-year-old guard made up for it on the other end, plucking six steals.

Teammate Chris Paul was at his side, though (h/t Brad Botkin of CBS Sports).

“Man, I went up to [Harden] in that timeout, and I said, ‘get your swag up,'” Paul said in the postgame interview. “He know how we play. We don’t look at how many shots you done missed or made. … You put the work in. That’s what you work all summer for. We believe in him like we believe in Gerald [Green] and everybody on our team, and we keep playing and stay the course. Coach puts the utmost confidence in guys to keep shooting … ’cause at the end of the day, it’s win the game.”

Harden and the Rockets all but have this series wrapped up, and should slide comfortably into the second round within the next two games.

The Utah Jazz will have a final chance at redemption Monday night on their home floor.