Rockets' James Harden calls reporter 'weirdo' after testy locker room exchange
Rockets guard James Harden reportedly argued with a reporter on Wednesday after Houston's loss to Portland in Game 2 of a first-round playoff series.
Harden shot only 6-of-19 from the field and scored 18 points as the Rockets lost at home again to fall behind 2-0 in the best-of-seven series. The performance, combined with his 8-of-28 effort in Game 1, prompted a reporter -- identified as NBA.com's Fran Blinebury -- to ask him multiple times about his offensive struggles.
Harden is asked about his offense beginning at the 43-second mark of the video below, and the same reporter follows up with two more questions about it:
After finishing with reporters, Harden reportedly lost his cool with Blinebury. Mike Tokito of The Oregonian has the details:
But when his media session in the Rockets opulent locker room ended, Harden went back at the reporter, asking if he had ever seen a player not play well before. The reporter answered that the struggle seemed unusual for Harden and was coming on a major stage, the playoffs.
The two went back and forth for a while, with Harden asking the reporter if he’d ever seen a basketball game before, then demanding to know whom the reporter was. The exchange got testy enough that team officials stepped in to usher Harden out.
As he left the room, Harden called the reporter “weirdo.”
It's no surprise to see a struggling star get testy with the media, but when that escalates to name-calling, the line starts to be crossed. Questions about his 14-of-47 shooting (29.8 percent) in the first two games clearly didn't sit well with Harden, the NBA's fifth-leading regular-season scorer at 25.4 points. (Here is Blinebury's postgame column about Harden and the Rockets.)
Game 3 is Friday in Portland, where the Blazers went 31-10 during the regular season. Only 16 teams in NBA history have come back from a 2-0 deficit to win a playoff series.