Q&A with Thunder's James Harden: ‘I have to assert myself early'

by Berry Tramel Published: May 2, 2011

You didn't score until the fourth quarter of Game 1 against Memphis and finished with just five shots. Why the lack of offensive aggression?

“Just opportunities. I had a few turnovers early, a couple of assists early as well. Opportunities weren't there. In the fourth quarter, I had a couple of shots. I just have to assert myself early in the game, as soon as I check in.”

You seem to be aggressive when playing with the reserves, but you defer when Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are on the court.

“At times, but let Kevin and Russell do what they do. That's how it's been going all season. At times, I can be aggressive and shoot the ball and just attack. Not only for myself, but my teammates as well.”

You struggled in the playoffs last season as the Thunder's fourth option. How has your focus changed now that you're the third option?

“Ever since the All-Star break, since the (Jeff Green) trade, that's been my role, to be more aggressive, take more shots. Goes along with Game 2 as well. Last game, I didn't shoot the ball. This game, I have to be more aggressive. Same thing happened in the Denver series. First game, I didn't shoot the ball. Second game, I came back and was productive. So just bounce back and be ready.”

by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The...
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