Defending James Harden will be a team effort for Thunder

Like every other elite scorer, former OKC guard will see ‘bodies and bodies' when he returns to Chesapeake Energy Arena on Wednesday night.
By John Rohde Published: November 27, 2012
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photo - Portland Trail Blazers' Jared Jeffries, left, and Will Barton (5) strip the ball from Houston Rockets' James Harden (13) in the second half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012, in Houston. Portland won in overtime 95-85. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan) ORG XMIT: HTR111
Portland Trail Blazers' Jared Jeffries, left, and Will Barton (5) strip the ball from Houston Rockets' James Harden (13) in the second half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012, in Houston. Portland won in overtime 95-85. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan) ORG XMIT: HTR111

“It's the same practice we do all the time on stopping all the great players,” said Brooks, who wants Harden to “see bodies and bodies” throughout the game.

“But that's our plan with everybody,” Brooks said. “We're not putting a special ‘Harden defense' in. We know what he does. We know who he is, what he's done. The crazy thing is good players seem to know how to get their points and get their game going.”

Few guards run the pick-and-roll as well as Harden, who often victimizes not only the pickee, but also the defender of the picker.

“It's hard to stop him,” Brooks said. “He has the ability to attack, shoot 3s and he gets to the free-throw line.”

Martin has defended Harden on occasion the previous three seasons while playing for Sacramento and Houston.

“Just make him take tough shots,” Martin said. “Like any good player in the league, you just try to make him work for 48 minutes and see what happens.”

Westbrook noted they will face a different Harden on Wednesday than they faced at practice as teammates.

“I know it's different,” Westbrook said. “He has a green light over there (in Houston). He plays freely and he's able to do basically what he wants. We just need to do a good job of team defense and we'll be all right.”



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