After hitting a stunning game-winning 3-pointer against the Warriors, Rockets star James Harden wants people to focus more on his “greatness” than his ability to draw fouls.
Harden, the reigning league MVP, produced his fifth straight 40-point game as the Rockets overcame a 20-point deficit to defeat the Warriors, 135-134, in overtime at Oracle Arena.
The six-time All-Star forced the extra period with a 30-foot step-back jumper and sealed a sixth straight win for the Rockets by making a heavily contested effort from beyond the arc with 2.7 seconds remaining in OT.
Harden leads the NBA in free throws attempted (11.1) and made (9.4) per game and prior to the match Warriors coach Steve Kerr said Harden was “changing the game” with the way he draws fouls.
Asked if he felt too much energy was spent on critiquing that aspect of his play, Harden said: “Exactly. I’ve got the total package. I get to the basket, I’m aggressive and I shoot my shot.
“Don’t foul me on my jump shot and we won’t have to talk about it. It’s as simple as that.
“[People] talk too much about my fouls and not actually the greatness of what I’m doing out on the court. That’s what we need to focus on.”
James Harden drills the game-winner for tonight’s #KiaTopPlay ! #Rockets pic.twitter.com/YhPVLoBXr9
— NBA (@NBA) January 4, 2019
Harden had 15 assists and 10 rebounds to go with his 44 points — his second straight triple-double — and the guard made no attempt to hide the depth of his self-belief.
“Through the roof,” he said when asked about his current confidence levels.
“It’s been like that and credit to my teammates for making big shots, making big-time defensive plays. Clint [Capela] had a 20-20 game, Gerald [Green] came in and made some big-time shots.
“It was a total team effort and I just had to go out and do my part to the highest level.”
. @JHarden13 on his way to the W. pic.twitter.com/EADcv4w6pa
— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) January 4, 2019
Houston coach Mike D’Antoni said the Rockets had “lost our swagger” after a 1-5 start to the season, but, despite the absences of Chris Paul and Eric Gordon due to injury, Harden has no doubt the team is back on track after improving to 22-15.
“It’s there for sure. One thing that’s important too, we’re guarding as a team, we’re helping each other out offensively, we’re making shots, we’re moving, we’re doing everything necessary for us to win,” he said.
“You [have] got to continue to do that. It’s a grind every single game. When we’re not making shots we’ve still got to be aggressive offensively, take our shots and have that confidence and more times than not good things will happen.”