As James Harden went stagnant on offense, so did the Thunder
Videoview all videos
May 28Darnell Mayberry and Mike Sherman discuss what OKC must...
May 28Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Scott Brooks, Serge...
Photoview all 30 photos
NewsOK Related Articles
Durant said the start of the fourth quarter generally is when Harden gets it going and provides his most significant spark. Yet Harden wasn't given the chance to Sunday.
The Thunder started the fourth quarter by allowing Harden to orchestrate the offense on its first two possessions. Harden used the first set, a ball screen by Nick Collison, to knock down a jump shot. On the second possession, Harden attacked off another ball screen by Collison but was whistled for a charging foul when Spurs forward Tiago Splitter slid his feet to get into position. The Thunder held a 73-66 lead at that point, but by the time Harden got his next shot to run the offense OKC trailed 96-89.
It's possible Brooks lost a bit of trust in Harden after he corralled a defensive rebound, raced the other way and picked up another charging violation while trying to convert a layup with 8:55 remaining.
“He had two charges and he had tough looks in the game,” Brooks said. “But they did a great job on him. They really collapsed his lanes and he didn't get a lot of opportunities to take it to the basket.”
Harden certainly struggled. He had eight points on 3-of-12 shooting through three quarters. But Harden also has proved himself capable of heating up in a hurry, as evidenced by his fourth quarter in the closeout Game 4 against Dallas, when he scored or assisted on 24 of the team's final 35 points.
“I think (Sunday) night we were kind of all over the place in the fourth quarter,” Harden said.
The Thunder can't afford similar chaos Tuesday night and risk going down 2-0. How Harden performs will go a long way in determining the outcome of Game 2. In six games since the start of the Lakers series, Harden has made just 26-of-70 shots, a mere 37 percent.
“There's going to be times in every series or every game that you're going to have a guy struggle here or there,” Brooks said. “James has been good for us all year, and we believe in him … He's going to make some shots. He made some shots at the end (Sunday). Hopefully that gives him some confidence going into Tuesday night's game.”
Sports Photo Galleriesview all
VIDEOS FROM NBA TV
Buy Tickets View all
- 10886Oklahoma tornadoes: Cost, custom keep basements scarce
- 10691Oklahoma tornadoes: Plaza Towers Elementary School teacher shoved students into bathroom as wall collapsed
- 9835Finding Addyson – One family's struggle in the Moore tornado
- 9009Oklahoma tornadoes: The 'Big Dog,' the little boy and the hug that triumphs over tragedy
- 5206Miranda Lambert, Reba McEntire, Vince Gill to join Blake Shelton at "Healing in the Heartland" Oklahoma tornado benefit
- 4290Downtown wish list includes Super Target
- 3855OU softball: Sooners inspired by Casey Angle, run-rule Texas A&M