Rockets vs Thunder: How James Harden made up for his poor offensive play with a brilliant defensive block?
With 2.6 seconds left on the clock, Harden blocked Luguentz Dort's 27-foot jumper for a three-pointer that actually did the trick to help Houston notch up their win
It's not very often you see James Harden garnering praise for his defensive play. But on Wednesday, September 2, "The Beard" had a forgettable day as far as his offense went, and despite that, Houston managed to pip Oklahoma 104-102 in Game 7 of the first round of the NBA Playoffs. It was that sort of a game where Harden had to find that switch to see his team through.
Houston Rockets guard James Harden might have struggled shooting, but he came through on the biggest play with a defensive stop. With 2.6 seconds left on the clock, Harden blocked Luguentz Dort's 27-foot jumper for a three-pointer that actually did the trick to help Houston notch up their win. Soon after, forward Robert Covington with 22 points for the night split a pair of foul shots to give the side a two-point lead with 1.1 seconds left. It was all happening with Gallinari missing a free-throw for Thunder.
Eventually, the Rockets did make it to round two where they face-off against a well-rested Los Angeles Lakers. This also means enough time for Harden to forget the 17 points of the day and do what he does best. There were no pulling punches as Harden was brutally honest during the post-game interview.
You can have a look at the defense block here:
"Offensively I felt like s**t. I couldn’t make a shot," he said. "Excuse my language, but I couldn’t make a shot, turned the ball over, just doing everything that was not supposed to happen, but I just kept sticking with it. My teammates give me confidence throughout the course of games, and defensively I had to make a play...Dort had been knocking down some shots tonight, so I wanted to get out to him."
Dort will consider himself to be a tad unlucky after scoring 30 points, shooting 10-of-21 from the field and 6-of-12 from deep. He was ably assisted by veteran Chris Paul, who, after his Game 6 heroics, finished with 19 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists. In doing so, he became the oldest player in the NBA history to have a triple-double in a Game 7.
The Rockets will take on the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday, September 4. Game 1 can be watched live on ESPN at 9 pm ET.