Fit, Rested James Harden Could Change Playoffs

The long hiatus before the NBA’s restart gave many players to rest, recover and even find a new level of fitness. One prime example of this is Rockets guard James Harden.

Harden used the hiatus to get in even better shape and further improve his already exceptional basketball mechanics. On Sunday night, this was put to the test, as Harden was given the difficult task of defending superstar Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo.

This matchup was further highlighted because of an exchange involving the two players during All-Star Weekend, when Giannis slammed Harden for his notoriously lackluster defense.

Harden let his play do the talking on Sunday and put forth a great defensive effort against the number one seed in the East. Here’s what Paul Pierce had to say about his performance and the Rockets as a whole.

“I look at James, and I commend his leadership throughout anything,” said Truth. “We know he’s a bucket-getter, we know what he does in that category, but this is leadership. Coming into the bubble in better shape, making a commitment to the defensive end, you know what? It flows through all the Rockets. When you see James Harden getting after it, you know what Russ is going to do, then the other guys are going to get after it. When I look at this team, they’re dangerous because what they lack in size, they make up in heart, and James is taking the lead in that category.”

Both Paul and his former teammate Kendrick Perkins are looking for the Rockets to make a deep playoff run. Perhaps Houston could put a crimp in the previously “destined” All-LA Western Conference Finals. Check out the clip below to see the full discussion about Harden and the Rockets.

The Jump airs weekdays at 3 p.m. ET on ESPN. 

2020-08-04T16:52:36+00:00 August 4th, 2020|

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