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SportJames Harden Was the MVP. Then He Became Invaluable.

23:55  26 march  2019
23:55  26 march  2019 Source:   online.wsj.com

James Harden passes Dirk Nowitzki on NBA’s all-time list of 3-pointers made

James Harden passes Dirk Nowitzki on NBA’s all-time list of 3-pointers made James Harden passes Dirk Nowitzki on NBA's all-time list of three-pointers made. They were tied for 11th until he made the basket, giving him 1,961 for his career. Dirk Nowitzki is in his 21st season. James Harden is in his 10th. (via @bull50) pic.twitter.com/BOxqkvmQBL - ClutchFans (@clutchfans) March 20, 2019 What's crazy is that Harden is in his 10th season, and Dirk is in his 21st season. Harden went on to make two more three-pointers in the Houston Rockets' win over the Hawks. Harden finished 31 points and 10 assists.

Then He Became Invaluable .: James Harden passes Dirk Nowitzki on NBA’s all-time list of 3-pointers made James Harden p James Harden should be the 2016-17 NBA MVP . But while Westbrook did become the first player to average 10 assists and 10 rebounds per game since the Big O

Then He Became Invaluable . 1.16 points or higher: Inside the Houston Rockets and their star player ’s statistically incomprehensible season. This number that informs every decision by the NBA’s wonkiest team and explains the marvelous season of James Harden is a very specific one: 1.16.

James Harden Was the MVP. Then He Became Invaluable.© Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press HOUSTON—There is a number guiding the basketball philosophy of the Houston Rockets. This number that informs every decision by the NBA’s wonkiest team and explains the marvelous season of James Harden is a very specific one: 1.16. That’s the number of points per possession they have to score to be the best offense in the history of basketball.

It’s such a powerful number that Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni, who has long been known for strategies that pushed the boundaries of his sport, realized he wasn’t pushing the boundaries enough as soon as he came here and immersed himself in Houston’s analytics.

Harden scores 57, but Grizzlies top Rockets 126-125 in OT

Harden scores 57, but Grizzlies top Rockets 126-125 in OT James Harden scored 57 points but the Memphis Grizzlies outlasted Houston 126-125 in overtime Wednesday night, handing the Rockets only their second loss in the last 14 games. Mike Conley scored 35 points for Memphis and Jonas Valanciunas had a career-best 33, including the game-winning free throw with less than a second left. Valanciunas made the first of two free throws with 0.1 seconds remaining after he was fouled by Clint Capela under the Grizzlies basket. The clock ran out after Valanciunas, who also had 15 rebounds, missed the second foul shot.

James Edward Harden Jr. (born August 26, 1989) is an American professional basketball player for the Houston Rockets of the National Basketball Association (NBA).

James Harden propelled Houston from nearly dead last to contention for homecourt advantage in the playoffs, and the only thing more preposterous than his stats during the 30-point game streak is his Harden also set the narrative in the league this year. He was the most talked-about on a nightly basis.

“I never had this data,” D’Antoni said in reference to points per possession. “Like, wait a minute. This (play) gives us 0.8, this gives us 0.9, this gives us 1.2. Why don’t we do the 1.2 every time? Why do we do the 0.8s and 0.9s?”

Mike D’Antoni turned himself into basketball’s Marie Kondo. He decluttered the Rockets. But unlike the Japanese tidying guru, D’Antoni wasn’t trying to spark joy. His benchmark was more objective: 1.16 points per possession. “Anything above that, we try to keep,” he said. “Anything below that, we have to figure out why and get it out.”

The obsession with 1.16 is the driving force behind the most peculiar strategy in basketball. It’s the reason the Rockets have taken the NBA’s pursuit of peak efficiency to an extreme.

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Harden ties career best with 61, Rockets beat Spurs 111-105

Harden ties career best with 61, Rockets beat Spurs 111-105 James Harden matched his career high with 61 points, including 27 in the first quarter, to lead the Houston Rockets to a 111-105 victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Friday night.Harden hit three straight 3-pointers to give the Rockets a 103-100 lead and scored all of Houston's points in a 13-2 run late in the fourth quarter. Harden topped the 50-point mark for the eighth time this season, compared with 10 such performances from the rest of the league combined. He matched his career-best total set earlier this season against the Knicks at Madison Square Garden.

James Harden was literally speechless when he was named the NBA’s most valuable player on Monday If Harden felt a certain amount of vindication after finally winning MVP , one could hardly blame him . Oklahoma City then traded him to the Rockets in what was then a controversial move.

The National Basketball Association Most Valuable Player Award ( MVP ) is an annual National Basketball Association Russell and James are the only players to have won the award four times in five seasons.[5] Moses Derrick Rose became the youngest player to ever win the award at age 22.

“We cut out all the things that don’t work,” D’Antoni said. “Let’s go to the things that work and run it every time until they stop it. If they start stopping it, then we’ll figure something else out. But it’s never been stopped.”

That’s because more often than not, and far more often than anybody in the league, the unstoppable player is James Harden.

The league’s reigning most valuable player is putting the finishing touches on a season that’s statistically incomprehensible. He’s averaging 36.4 points per game, the most since Michael Jordan, and yet even that doesn’t capture the full extent of his nightly absurdity. He’s had two 60-point games and two sets of consecutive 50-point games. He’s shooting more threes than Stephen Curry and scoring more points per minute than anyone since Wilt Chamberlain.

But the unrestrained abnormality of his game fully reveals itself when Harden isolates his defender in a one-on-one matchup. It seems logical that what goes up in volume must come down in efficiency. His volume has increased for the last six years. His efficiency has remained almost exactly the same.

James Harden deserves to repeat as MVP

James Harden deserves to repeat as MVP Ridiculous numbers, a likely top-three seed in the clearly tougher conference, major defensive impact, and a cherry on top versus San Antonio. Ladies and gentlemen, The Beard should be your MVP.

My conclusion then was that while Harden ’s season was undeniably amazing, the MVP was still There’s not much separation at all. Player A is Antetokounmpo, by the way, and Harden is Player B. That Harden has defined the season in the sense that his exploits have become must-watch theater.

James Harden is the MVP of this NBA season. He has been the frontrunner for most of the year, but the recency of other candidates performing well We know that the MVP doesn’t necessarily have to play for the best team in the league. Then there’s of course the argument of inherent ability, that

His stats look fake. There is no one who isolates more than Harden, and there is no one who scores more per isolation than Harden. He finished last season with a league-high 719 isolation possessions. He’s outdone even himself with 1,164 isolation possessions this year. To put that in proper context, there is no one else who has more than 300, and Harden alone has 53% more isolations than any team. It’s like he’s playing an entirely different game.

Rockets coaches and executives say he’s the greatest one-on-one player of all time. He also may be a back-to-back MVP—he’ll almost certainly be No. 1 or No. 2 in voting for the fourth season in five years—at a time when isolation specialists should be the T-rexes of the NBA. His style of play is deeply inefficient. The average iso this season is worth 0.88 points per possession. That suggests it’s a bad idea. Except it’s not for James Harden.

He turns one of the sport’s worst plays into one of the very best. After scoring 1.22 points per isolation possession last year, it would have been basketball malpractice for Harden to do anything else. And so he didn’t. Harden is No. 1 in volume and efficiency again this season.

Giannis Antetokounmpo's Bucks beat James Harden's Rockets in showdown of MVP front-runners

Giannis Antetokounmpo's Bucks beat James Harden's Rockets in showdown of MVP front-runners All eyes were on Giannis Antetokounmpo and James Harden, but the Bucks' Eric Bledsoe stole the show in Milwaukee's series-sweeping win.

LeBron James would probably be the MVP every year if the award made any sense; Kawhi Leonard, like his forebear Tim Duncan, will land a couple of Harden , on the other hand, is lethal and precise. He pinpoints defensive weaknesses and exploits them with calm bravura. Even when he ’s at his most

Unpopular opinion, James Harden should have two MVP awards, and this year should be his third. However, despite two snubs, “the Beard” has continued What makes all of this even more impressive is that James Harden has been forced to share the role of primary ball handler with future hall of

Harden was scoring exactly 1.16 points per iso possession as recently as January. He’s since inched down to 1.09 points, and his coach insists it has to be higher as the playoffs approach. D’Antoni is hilariously serious about this. He refused to entertain the premise of a hypothetical universe in which it goes the other way.

“It’s not gonna happen,” he said. “And if it does? You’ll see me in some other city.”

One of the few people in the Rockets’ orbit who doesn’t concern himself with such granular data is the person whose excellence can only be understood through them.

James Harden has his own theory of basketball. It’s that every action has an unequal, opposite reaction.

“If teams want to switch and put me on an island, I’m gonna keep taking advantage of it,” he said in an interview after a recent game. “If they want to double-team like they’ve been doing, I’ll dump the basketball.”

“Whatever they do,” he added, “I counteract.”

Like every successful NBA team, the Rockets are built around the unique strengths of their star player, and they get out of the way when Harden goes to work. They give Harden almost the entire halfcourt to dribble, dribble and keep dribbling once he handpicks his defender and figures out what to do with all that space.

There is no good way to stop him once he does. He’s effective in the three most efficient ways of scoring. He gets 1.17 points per shot around the basket. He shoots 88% at the free-throw line and leads the NBA in foul shots for the fifth year in a row. He’s launching so many 3-pointers—Harden is going to break Curry’s record for attempts per game by close to 20%—that even Houston’s radical general manager Daryl Morey is content.

Giannis vs. Harden: The MVP Race by the Numbers

Giannis vs. Harden: The MVP Race by the Numbers As the NBA regular season winds down, the MVP race has clearly come down to two players: Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo and Rockets guard James Harden. Here’s how the two players stack up at this point in the season. [RELATED: Jazz Head Coach Quin Snyder Has Developed a Defensive Juggernaut] The first place to take stock of which way MVP voters will be leaning is the standings. The award typically goes to the best player on the best team, although there have been some exceptions in the past. Here’s where each MVP’s team from the last five seasons finished relative to the rest of his conference.

James Harden should be the 2016-17 NBA MVP . But while Westbrook did become the first player to average 10 assists and 10 rebounds per game since the Big O, Harden also Then consider what Harden did as a creator for others. Night in and night out, Houston relied on Harden to pull a rabbit

The Most Valuable Player award is an argument between a hundred people who love to argue. Many of the arguments have merit, the occasional He was the best player in the league by most objective measures leading the best team. To choose Harden again this season would require using the same

“He might be approaching some sort of limit,” Morey said. “I think this is the first time I’ve ever said that.”

He’s able to do this because he invented a new kind of shot. Curry shoots off the dribble. Harden shoots as he’s stepping away from the basket. He took the most stepback 3-pointers last year. He’s already taken 182% more this year.

But there are some limits to Harden’s game. His heavy workload puts him at greater risk of wearing down. He is not known for his defensive expertise. And his brutally efficient style isn’t for everyone. There are times when rooting for Harden feels like marveling at the subway.

D’Antoni is aware of this criticism. He would rather listen to a clanking radiator.

“Everybody runs to their strengths,” he said. “This is our strength.”

It’s their strength because of Harden. He saved their season when Chris Paul and Clint Capela were injured, and they climbed back into contender status by empowering him to be even more iconoclastic than he already was. That meant more isos.

The beauty of his isos is that they’re a means to the end that everybody can see coming. Harden goes one-on-one to get a layup, get fouled or get off the game’s most improbable shot. A possession that ends with four Rockets watching Harden take a stepback 3-pointer is perfectly acceptable.

It’s worth precisely 1.16 points. It’s the best offense ever.

Write to Ben Cohen at ben.cohen@wsj.com

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Clippers announcer rips James Harden’s ‘cheating’ style.
There is no NBA player whose style of play is more polarizing than James Harden’s. Many people do not like his style of iso ball, the way he constantly draws fouls and how he shuffles his feet on his stepback. One announcer seemed to take thing further than most criticism, saying Harden’s style is like “cheating.” During the Los Angeles Clippers’ home loss to the Houston Rockets on Wednesday night, Clippers TV analyst Don MacLean compared Harden’s style to almost cheating the game and said that it wasn’t basketball. "This style, what Harden does, is manipulating the game somehow.

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