Rockets superstar James Harden had a brutally honest reaction to Houston’s Game 4 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers Thursday night.
Just a week ago, Harden rattled off 36 points to down the Lakers 112-97 in a massive Game 1 victory. The Rockets fell in Game 2, but expressed plenty of confidence heading into Game 3. Even head coach Mike D’Antoni admitted he felt the Lakers’ defensive game-plan was a “desperate” attempt to try and slow down Houston’s fast-paced offense.
What D’Antoni failed to realize is desperation can often be the antidote for struggling top-seeded playoff teams. Following a Game 1 defeat, the Lakers have rattled off three straight wins to take a 3-1 series lead. LeBron James and Anthony Davis can close out the series this Saturday.
For whatever reason, the Rockets lacked fire in last night’s defeat. Harden himself couldn’t get going, shooting 2-of-11 overall and just 1-of-6 from three-point range. When Houston needed him the most, Harden failed to step up to the plate and hit it out of the park. Following Thursday night’s game, No. 13 didn’t have an answer for why the Rockets played flat in a pivotal Game 4.
Q: Why were you flat for the first three quarters of Game 4 loss to Lakers?
Rockets’ James Harden: “It’s a good question……. (fiddles with ice packs)” pic.twitter.com/FmadXXxutL
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) September 11, 2020
Fortunately, James Harden had no problem getting to the free-throw line last night – a staple of his offensive game. No. 13 made 16-of-20 free-throw attempts in Game 4. The Lakers as a team shot just 16 free throws the entire game.
Foul calls went in favor of the Rockets in Game 4, as did three-point percentage. But the Lakers have figured out the Rockets’ small-ball approach – Los Angeles out-rebounded Houston 52-26 Thursday night.
The Rockets need a big response Saturday night to keep their season alive. If they fail to do so, we could see Houston make major roster moves during the off-season.
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