I bet you didn’t see James Harden sealing a playoff series making a defensive play didn’t you? That’s exactly what happened Wednesday night against the Chris Paul-led Oklahoma City Thunder. Harden made the crucial block of a flaming hot undrafted rookie, Luguentz Dort. The obvious irony here if that for Harden’s entire career he’s been heavily criticized for his lack of defensive effort, and rightfully so. However, this block may go a long way toward reinforcing his legacy.
Harden has been the best shooting guard in the league for quite some time now, but because of his pension for drawing fouls, ball dominance, and lack of defense, the NBA world has never seemed to fully embrace the former MVP. This at least quiets his critics for one more round…and what a round it shall be.
It’s a fair question to ask which players on the Lakers will be awarded the Harden/Westbrook assignments. But a much larger question looms: ‘Who’s going to guard Lebron and Anthony Davis?.’ The Rockets have often run with a 9 man lineup that includes PJ Tucker playing center. Davis presents quite the conundrum, being that he’s the most skilled big man in the league and standing 6’10 to Tucker’s 6’5. Oh and then there’s a certain 4-time MVP you may or may not have heard of. It’s a tall order but stranger things have happened. Not the least of which is the mere fact that there’s no home-field advantage this year, which has been felt in almost every series. I don’t think many of us saw the Milwaukee Bucks perhaps losing in the 2nd round after having the best record in the league from start to finish, but here we are.
For the record I don’t see the Rockets winning more than a game, but I wouldn’t be extremely surprised if it lasted a bit longer.
Click on the next slide to watch Harden’s game-winning stop