ASU Basketball: Former Devil James Harden Ready to Chase the Elusive NBA Title
Houston Rockets guard James Harden has long been considered one of the elite players in the NBA, as he remains one of the best in the league at filling up the stat sheet. After completing three scrimmage games in preparation for the season’s restart, the former Sun Devil appears to be primed for a strong finish to the regular season.
In Tuesday night's 137-112 exhibition victory over the Boston Celtics (with no Celtics starters in), Harden dropped 35 points (7-7 on free throws, 8-13 from beyond the arc) to pair with eight rebounds and six assists in three-quarters of play. Harden also led the Rockets in points and assists in Houston’s first two exhibition games, posting stat-lines of 24 points/10 assists and 31 points/9 assists/8 rebounds in limited minutes, respectively.
The former Sun Devil looks all the part in his readiness to return to action, even by refusing to check out of Sunday’s scrimmage game with minutes to spare in order to prepare himself for the workload he’ll receive once the season resumes.
“I tried to take James [Harden] out with about four minutes to go, but he wouldn’t have it,” said Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni following the scrimmage and via ESPN’s Tim MacMahon. “He wanted to play and win."
Harden looks to continue his quest for an NBA championship, a task that’s proved too elusive in his career thus far. With fellow guard Russell Westbrook and favorable odds to bring home his second MVP award/third straight scoring champion honors, many are projecting a deep playoff run for Houston this season with Arizona State’s own leading the charge.
With just eight games left before the playoffs, the 8x NBA All-Star and the rest of the Rockets will resume regular season play on Friday, July 31 against the Dallas Mavericks.