I caught up with James Harden after practice this afternoon with the sole purpose of picking his brain about his monster dunk over J.J. Hickson on Sunday night. If you ask me, that was the play of the year for the Thunder so far. Poster dunks don’t get much better. Harden took us through the play from start to finish.
DM: Tell me about the dunk on J.J. Hickson.
JH: I just got the rebound, pushed the ball and went up trying to just make a strong play. To be honest, I didn’t even really see him.
DM: What about the reaction you had after it?
JH: The facial expression was just excitement. I was excited. I just tried to get hyped.
DM: Which one was better, yours against Hickson, or Russell Westbrook’s against Shane Battier?
JH: I don’t know. Both of them was nice. Russell’s was definitely exciting. He’s so athletic and he gets to the rim so easy and he has the ability to jump over a lot of people. Mine was just pushing it in transition and trying to make a strong play. I just caught him.
DM: You’ve had some pretty amazing dunks already in your career. Where do you rank that one?
JH: Probably at the top. A lot of (mine) were just jumping over a guy, or a little contact and and and one. But this one was full-out, body-to-body contact. It was exciting. I didn’t know what to do after that.
DM: Did you see him coming?
JH: Nah. Not until the last minute. I took off just going to lay the ball up. But then I seen him and I knew I couldn’t go up soft. I had to go up strong. He missed the ball and I got to the rim.
DM: At what point do you decide you’re going to dunk instead of laying it in?
JH: At the top of it. I seen him coming and we collided bodies and I just had to force the ball to the rim. Either he was going to block it or I was going to dunk it.
DM: What does it feel like when you get a guy like that?
JH: Oh yeah, it’s definitely exciting, especially the body-to-body in the air. It’s my first one actually being body-to-body contact like that, which was an and one. I missed the free throw. But I wasn’t worried about that.
DM: Do you remember what D.J. White said to you? He was the first one in your face after the dunk?
JH: He just started screaming. And I started screaming. I started breathing hard and went up there and missed the free throw.
DM: What does a dunk like that do for you in terms of the rest of your night?
JH: I was excited. I had the biggest smile on my face. Even on SportsCenter they were talking about it. It was a great play, and hopefully I can bring a lot more.
DM: When you have one like that, do you get home and watch TV until that show it on SportsCenter?
JH: Oh yeah. I think that’s everybody, especially the young guys. Guys that do it all the time are probably used to it. But for a guy who doesn’t really do it all the time will watch it just to look at it again and see how it really was. Obviously you’re in the play, but to see it in replay is definitely a different view.