James Harden looks primed to win his first MVP. Early in last night’s blowout win over the Los Angeles Clippers, he may have had a signature play for the campaign.
The Houston Rockets jumped out to a 34-12 lead in the first quarter behind 17 points from James Harden. They cruised to a 105-92 win.
The Clippers actually played pretty well in the second and third frames to get back to a less embarrassing deficit. The damage was already done with one Harden play, which is all anyone wanted to share last night.
Late in the first quarter, Harden broke Wes Johnson’s ankles, leaving a large gap between him and any defender. Rather than taking the wide open shot, he stared at the prone forward for what felt like a millennium, until someone finally halfheartedly rotated over.
Then James Harden drilled the three in everyone’s face.
JAMES HARDEN DID THAT pic.twitter.com/HM7Cf0TspW
— Yahoo Sports NBA (@YahooSportsNBA) March 1, 2018
Harden’s stare is really what sells the whole moment. It’s best viewed from another angle.
— Sporting News (@sportingnews) March 1, 2018
Harden was asked about the stare down after the game. His answer was pretty interesting.
He basically said he was confused as to what happened more than anything, and wasn’t exactly trying to show Johnson up. Whatever sounds good to you, James. Via Sporting News:
“It felt good man, I’ve been in my bag all year so it’s just one of those moves where I had to make him dance a little bit and made the shot.
… I was looking at him, and he was looking at me. I was just trying to figure out what he was doing. I was going to shoot it, but I was waiting to see, to figure out what was going on. I was confused. Like did the ref call side out of bounds?”
Harden finished with 25 points last night. On the season, he is averaging a career high 31.3 points, 8.9 assists, and 5.2 rebounds. He’s one of the most efficient offensive players in recent memory, and with the Rockets poised to take the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference, he is the definitive MVP favorite right now.