After losing to the Chicago Bulls, James Harden is taking full responsibility for their defeat. He also says that he needs to take accountability for his teammates’ lack of defense which ultimately led them on a five-game skid and not having a winning record this season.
James Harden took full blame after the Houston Rockets lost to the Chicago Bulls. The Rockets were down by 18 points at one point in the third quarter, before rallying back and winning. Read more in detail here: who does james harden play for.
The Brooklyn Nets led the Chicago Bulls for a large amount of Saturday’s game, but they didn’t hit enough shots when it counted most.
The Nets fall to 16-7 and are now just a half-game ahead of the Bulls, who won the second matchup between the Eastern Conference heavyweights. Brooklyn led by three points in the first quarter and by four points at halftime. In the third quarter, the home club even had an 11-point advantage, but Chicago never gave up, and the Nets couldn’t buy a bucket from close range.
With 31 points, Zach LaVine topped all scorers. The former Slam Dunk champion also had eight rebounds and six assists while shooting 11-of-13 from the free throw line. With 29 points on 13-of-24 shooting, DeMar DeRozan was no less devastating. He also caused the Nets a lot of trouble down the stretch.
At Barclays Center, DeRozan was in his luggage.
THE TURN. @NBCSChicago | @DeMar DeRozan pic.twitter.com/hEYzCoNZ1d THE CRAFT.
5 December 2021 — Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls)
Kevin Durant had no problems. The MVP contender for the Nets finished with 28 points, 10 rebounds, four assists, and two blocks. But it was James Harden’s failure to finish at the rim that was the story of the night. The Beard only scored 14 points on a dismal 5-of-21 shooting performance. Harden’s fingertips were on several of the missed bunnies as the Nets went only 20-of-46 on rim attempts.
“I’m to blame,” Harden said, accepting full responsibility for the loss. “I had a lot of chances at the rim, but I didn’t take advantage of them.” I could have brought this game to a close.
“I went when there were chances for me to complete.” I just did not convert to the extent that I needed to. But I feel that putting pressure on that rim throughout a game was beneficial, but it didn’t work tonight—my paint finishes weren’t up to par, and I believe that was the cause for the defeat.”
Harden’s troubling splits have been an unwelcome pattern for the Nets this season. In victories, he’s been fantastic, but in defeats, he’s been dreadful (by his standards). The team’s dismal record against elite opponents has gotten a lot of attention. Harden hasn’t been nearly as successful in those games.
W/L Splits of James Harden
On 43/36/87 in Ws 23-10-8-2
On 34/31/94, in Ls 16-9-8
Many things occurred today that may have compensated for Harden’s ineffective performance, but to keep things simple, the Nets’ victories and losses can be distilled down to Harden’s contributions. https://t.co/dG8FkoXOHB
December 5, 2021 — Billy Reinhardt (@BillyReinhardt)
Of course, his teammates didn’t let him off the hook for everything.
“We simply didn’t make them, we didn’t knock them down, they made timely baskets and we didn’t,” Durant said.
He went on to say, “This is a terrible defeat.” Durant was informed that after the game, a teammate attempted to take the responsibility, but he refused. “I should’ve taken more pictures.” Then I could have relieved [Harden’s] pressure.”
The Bulls were 19-of-27 from the line, while the Nets were just 7-of-9. It’s impossible to overcome a differential like this from the line.
Paul Millsap put up one of his greatest performances of the season. He finished with 12 points, two steals, and a blocked shot. In the second of a back-to-back, he was had to log 34 minutes. Nic Claxton (returning after non-COVID sickness) and Blake Griffin (out of the rotation) did not play.
Millsap was questioned about Harden accepting responsibility for the loss after the game.
“You can’t blame yourself; it’s a team effort,” said the forward who formerly played for the Utah Jazz, Atlanta Hawks, and Denver Nuggets. “It doesn’t matter what happens throughout a game, what happens down the stretch, who did this, who did that, who missed an assignment, who missed a shot, who did whatever.” At the end of the day, it’s a team sport in which we all share credit and could all improve. We all missed several shots that we should have made around the baskets. It’s sad you’re having one of those days, but we’ve got to keep encouraging each other and helping him get through those periods, and vice versa.”
It’s possible that the Nets have run out of steam a little bit. They’re short on healthy guys, so they’re counting on their stars to put in large minutes and put up big numbers. It’s no surprise they looked tired in the second game of a back-to-back against the Bulls, who are unquestionably one of the hottest teams in the NBA right now.
People will question James Harden’s fitness or whether he is just not the same player we saw in years before when he wore a Houston Rockets suit unless he can put together some huge games against some top opponents and play at a high level more regularly.
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