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Thunder: James Harden has a move that drives defenders nuts

Harden has developed a knack for drawing contact on drives to the basket by sticking out his arms, exposing the ball while gripping it with two hands, and baiting defenders to swipe at the ball. If they do, it's a foul. If they don't, he has an unobstructed path to the basket.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: March 8, 2012

James Harden has found a new move.

It's funny-looking. But it's effective.

It defies fundamentals. But it draws fouls.

Above all, it's reliable.

“We know it's going to be two points every time he goes to the rim,” said Kevin Durant.

Harden has developed a knack for drawing contact on drives to the basket by sticking out his arms, exposing the ball while gripping it with two hands, and baiting defenders to swipe at the ball. If they do, it's a foul. If they don't, he has an unobstructed path to the basket.

Many times, the Thunder's sixth man gets the layup and the foul.

Opponents can't defend it. Coaches don't like it. And Harden won't stop using it.

“That's how I get to the foul line the majority of time is by using that,” Harden said. “If I don't get there, the majority of time it's a layup. So it just depends on the defenders and what they want to do.”

Unlike other basketball moves, this maneuver doesn't have a name. Thunder guard Royal Ivey dubbed it the “stick-and-move,” a somewhat fitting moniker seeing as how Harden sticks out his arms just before going into his finishing move.

“It's hard to emulate that. It takes time,” Ivey said. “He worked on that and he perfected it. Guys can't just go out there and try to do it because it doesn't work like that. It has a lot to do with timing, the way he comes off the screen and the way he sets up his guy. And he's mastered it, so that's his move.”

Harden isn't the first to utilize the move. Other prominent players such as San Antonio guard Manu Ginobili and Los Angeles Clippers guard Chauncey Billups have made it an integral part of their games. Thunder forward Nick Collison remembers scouting reports on Billups instructing players to keep their hands down on his drives to avoid falling for the move.

“I think the difference between him and James is that Chauncey looks to always get the foul,” said Durant, who teamed with Billups during the 2010 FIBA World Championship. “James looks to finish, to get the and one. So he's getting more and ones than I've seen Chauncey get.”

With the help of the stick-and-move, Harden has assembled his most productive season yet. He's averaging 16.8 points on 47.8 percent shooting, while attempting 6.3 free throws attempts and making 5.4 foul shots per game, all career highs.

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by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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