James Harden is in a bit of an ill-timed funk. Not trying to read too much into it but you have to call it like you see it. The slump is a tad reminiscent of the 2012 NBA Finals when he was a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Everyone kept waiting for him to get things cooking and it just never happened as the Miami Heat prevailed in five games. In the two games against the Portland Trail Blazers in these playoffs Harden is 14-48 from the field for, good for a chilly 29.1%.
He is a 44.5% shooter since he entered the NBA in 2009.
Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge has torched the Rockets to the tune of 44.5 points per game in this series. As great as he has played, if Harden had shot anywhere near his normal percentages it would have been enough to help Houston overcome Aldridge’s brilliance in one or maybe even both games.
This isn’t the first time Houston has dropped the opening two games of a playoff series at home. There is a precedent they can look to.
In 1995 the Rockets lost the first two to the San Antonio Spurs and promptly went to San Antonio and evened things up and closed things out in six games.
The Dream isn’t walking on the court this time around, he is watching from his court side seat.
The burden falls on Harden to get his groove back, stop worrying about reporters and take his accurate shooting eye to Portland. There’s still time to turn things around, Harden and Houston have to get down to business and prove it.