‣ James Harden was traded to the Clippers in October and has been performing well with averages of 17.6 points, 4.8 points and 8 assists per game.
‣ Harden’s performance has helped his team climb to the Western Conference’s fourth place holding a 20-12 record.
‣ Harden’s coach and teammates, including Paul George, Tyronn Lue, Russell Westbrook and Kawhi Leonard, have praised his recent performances.
James Harden on his fit with the Clippers:
“Obviously it didn’t start off well. It gave people so much to talk about in a negative way. And now those people that was talking, they’re nowhere to be found. Like literally nowhere to be found.”
— Joey Linn (@joeylinn_)
Back in October, James Harden was traded to the Clippers. This followed a summer of drama, including a clash between the players and Sixers President Daryl Morey. Despite a rocky start in his first five matches in Los Angeles, Harden is now thriving. His averages are 17.6 points, 4.8 points, and 8 assists per game. The Clippers have won 12 out of their last 14 games.
Now, Harden’s squad has moved up to fourth place in the Western Conference. They hold a 20-12 record. Harden, at 34, is convinced that the drama he went through is finally behind him.
Harden spoke to the press this week. “Oh honestly, all of that, all that’s over with,” he said. “I don’t want to talk about it. Villain role or none of that. All of that is over with. I’m past it.”
James Harden also commented on his fit with the Clippers. He admitted, “Obviously it didn’t start off well. It gave people so much to talk about in a negative way. And now those people that were talking, they’re nowhere to be found. Like literally nowhere to be found.”
The veteran guard had many detractors on his way back to the top with the Clippers. Broadcaster Brian Dameris’ rant against him when Harden first struggled this season is a perfect example. “Listen, James, have you ever had those friends who had bad roommates?” Dameris asked. “Over and over again, they complained about their bad roommates. ‘This guy’s terrible.’ They never thought to be self-aware enough that they’re the bad roommate. They’re the problem. ‘Hey James, you’re the problem.’”
In a recent interview, Harden addressed what it would mean for his legacy to finally conquer the NBA championship. He now has the chance to achieve this playing in his hometown. The Compton native believes his team truly has a chance to win this campaign.
“Very important,” James said when asked about the importance of a title in his career. “It’s been like that. I always want to give myself a chance to win. I know how very difficult that is. There’s only one team standing at the end of the year. So, I’ll continue to keep trying to do that.”
Harden’s coach and teammates have showered him in praise after his latest performances with the Clippers. When Harden first demanded a trade out of Philadelphia, he made it clear that he wanted to wear the Clippers uniform. Once he finally made it happen, his star teammates made sure he felt welcomed in Los Angeles.
“The reason why he’s here is we wanted him here,” said Paul George, who shares many memories with James from their teenage years playing at the Skills Academy in Los Angeles. Even experts are expressing their admiration for Harden’s recent dominance.
Harden’s coach, Tyronn Lue, recognized that the veteran guard wasn’t playing at his best during his first games with the club. Now, however, he leads a cohesive unit of offensive wizardry, which also includes Russell Westbrook and Kawhi Leonard.
“He was taking six, seven shots a game,” Lue recalled. “But now, I think with the rotation change [Westbrook moving to the bench] – getting him out early and getting him back with the second unit – has allowed him to be more aggressive. When he’s attacking the basket, making those step-back 3s, running a lot of pick-and-rolls, we’re a dangerous team. And so, just getting him more comfortable was the biggest thing. He has been doing a great job ever since.”