Draymond Green: James Harden 'Penalized' by MVP Voters For Scoring Numbers
Draymond Green and James Harden aren't exactly strangers after squaring off 48 times over the last eight seasons.
Green and Harden have battled in 23 playoff games and 25 regular-season contests since 2012-13, and there have been no shortage of memorable moments across the Houston-Golden State rivalry. Harden banged home a game-winner over Green in January 2019. Green shoved Harden to the ground in the opening minutes of the 2018 Western Conference finals. There's been at least some degree of bad blood, but Green firmly recognizes the greatness of the three-time scoring champion.
Golden State's forward noted Harden's scoring brilliance in an appearance on Inside the NBA on Saturday. Green discussed Harden's selection as an MVP finalist for the fourth straight year, adding that Harden may be overlooked by voters due to his consistent greatness.
"Does James Harden get penalized for the numbers that he’s putting up now?" Green said. "Is everybody just used to it and that’s what you expect, and so now no one gives him the credit that he’s deserving? I think I see a little bit of that."
Harden has certainly held his own against Green. He's averaged 28 points and 7.1 assists per game in the pair's 48 matchups, including a 34.8 points per game mark in the 2019 Western Conference semifinal. The Warriors' dynasty has been put on pause, and a pair of Los Angeles juggernauts have emerged as conference favorites. But perhaps we'll see the Rockets and Warriors battle for a fifth playoff series in the Harden era in 2020-21.
Harden will win his third straight scoring title in 2019-20, and he's gotten off to a hot start in Orlando. The Rockets are 3–1 in the NBA bubble, most recently defeating the Lakers on Thursday as Harden scored 39 points.
Houston will look to advance to 4–1 in Orlando and 44–25 in 2019-20 on Sunday as they face the Kings. Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m. CT.