The James Harden and Chris Paul-led Rockets have come the closest of anybody to taking down the Warriors in the Western Conference in the last two seasons but it’s been reported that a clash of styles brewed throughout the regular season, with different members of the team, including Chris Paul asking head coach Mike D’Antoni for more ball movement on offense.
The Warriors eliminated the Rockets with 118-113 road win in Game 6. James Harden scored 35 points on 25 shots while Chris Paul had 27 points on 19 shots, bouncing back from an awful 11-point effort in Game 5, when he was just 3-for-14 from the field.
Chris Paul and James Harden have usually exchanged turns leading the offense since Paul arrived to the team in 2017 but CP3 had the ball in his hands in critical moments late in Game 6 and according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, they had tense moments with one another throughout the game, culminating with a “verbal exchange in the locker room regarding ball distribution.”
James Harden for MVP?
Harden is after his second straight NBA MVP award and his regular season numbers were simply ridiculous. He led the NBA with 36.1 points to go along with 7.5 assists and 6.6 rebounds in 36.8 minutes over 78 games and he had an unforgettable streak of 32 games scoring at least 30 points.
Harden’s phenomenal season was even better than last year’s MVP campaign and his skill and intelligence on offense produced impressive numbers but the Rockets could try to integrate more ball and player movement.
The Rockets opened the season 1-5 and at some points many wondered if they would even make the playoffs. Harden’s brilliance was needed to help them overcome injuries to Chris Paul, Clint Capela and Eric Gordon at different moments and still finish in fourth place in the highly competitive Western Conference.
2019 NBA MVP Odds
(Courtesy of BetOnline)
Giannis Antetokounmpo -1000
James Harden +350
Paul George +5000