"Of course, any basketball player would be frustrated if his shot's not falling, but you've got to stick with it," Harden said. "It's basketball. You don't make (all your) shots every single day, every single game. I've got to go back tomorrow in practice, work on my mechanics and be ready for Thursday."
While Harden answered every question thrown his way in a suffocating locker room scene, seemingly forgotten were Harden's heroics that helped OKC advance to the Finals in the first place.
Harden wasn't the No. 3 pick in the 2009 NBA Draft because of his defense. He primarily played zone defense at Arizona State and was too busy scoring points in high school to worry about the other end of the court.
Though Brooks has commended Harden's improvement at the defensive end, Harden was still no match for James, who finished with 26 points, 12 assists, nine rebounds and two steals — though not all against Harden.
"It's tough," the 6-foot-5, 220-pound Harden said of defending the 6-8, 260ish-pound James. "He has me by a couple of inches and a lot more power. He's big and strong. I just try my best to win that fight and compete every play."
Harden quickly got into foul trouble in the second half. He was whistled three times in the third quarter.
"It was tough," Harden said of playing with foul trouble. "It's tough when he makes his other teammates better. So then you can't really leave them — the shooters. And then he gets to the basket and creates for himself. He's a great player."