This game was incredible. Stephen Curry was amazing. James Harden was outstanding. It was everything you want in an NBA game with a trip to the Finals on the line.
The big debate is over whether or not the Rockets should have called timeout on that final possession. The answer? Absolutely not. Hindsight is 20/20, and if I were Kevin McHale and this scenario happened again, I still wouldn’t call timeout.
Watch the play … Harden pulls down a rebound with about eight seconds left and takes off downcourt. He has momentum on his side, he has numbers on his side, and he’s been torching the Warriors. That’s better than anything you can ask for coming out of a timeout. The Warriors were crapping their pants when Harden was coming at them full-steam with the game on the line.
Neither Harden or McHale “blew the game.” It was simply a tough loss. Harden just never should have picked up his dribble — or when he did, shoot that step back jumper that was going down for him all game. What I’m convinced happened, is that Harden (who was double teamed) saw a wide open trailer and tried to get an open shot for a teammate. The problem was that the tailer was Dwight Howard, who immediately gave the ball back to Harden (rightly so). If Harden doesn’t pick up his dribble, I’m convinced the Rockets win. But I don’t consider that “blowing the game.”
The Splash Brothers also need to be defended here, because they played fantastic defense. Curry left his man (Corey Brewer who didn’t attempt to get open until too late) and overplayed Harden to his left, knowing exactly what he wanted to do with the ball. Harden could have made a better play, but I don’t feel he made a bad play. Hard to throw all the blame on a guy that posted a 38/10/9 line with three steals and a block on 13-for-21 shooting. Houston would have lost by 40 without the MVP runner-up on their side.
Harden showed frustration after the game, which I have no problem with.
But I not only respected how professional he was just minutes later in his postgame press conference, I also thought he was brutally honest — in a league where podium talk can be a lot of the same old expressions.
I totally agree that the Rockets take that play 10 out of 10 times just like Harden said. All you can say is that this was a tough loss … a frustrating loss. But definitely not to the fault of the guy who carried his team with a performance like this:
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