James Harden Drops Dennis Smith Jr. With Crossover Before Draining Three
James Harden has made a slate of defenders look foolish over the last 11 seasons, and Knicks guard Dennis Smith Jr. was Harden's latest victim on Monday night.
The 2017-18 MVP dropped Smith to the Toyota Center floor with a crossover in the first quarter, taking an extra couple of seconds before draining a wide-open triple. Smith looked to the officials for a foul call as he sat on the ground, but the N.C. State product didn't receive any assistance. Add Smith to the list of defenders who have finished on the wrong side of a Harden highlight.
Harden's crossover on Monday night certainly qualifies as an impressive highlight, though it's unlikely to be considered the best of his career. We're approaching the two-year anniversary of the likely top Harden crossover, a nasty move against Clippers forward Wesley Johnson in February 2018.
Harden got off to a hot start against New York on Monday night. He scored 12 points in the first quarter on 4-7 shooting, banging home two threes in the opening frame. The strong first 12 minutes of Monday's matchup continues a hot stretch for Harden. The Arizona State product is averaging 32.9 points per game since Feb. 1, shooting a solid 37.2% from three. With Harden and Russell Westbrook both thriving after the Clint Capela trade, the Rockets entered Monday night with seven wins in their last nine games.
Houston is currently fourth in the West at 36–20. Harden and Co. have the same record as Rudy Gobert and the Jazz, but the Rockets hold the tiebreaker after winning in Utah on Saturday night.