Harden, the No. 3 overall pick, ranks fourth on the Thunder in scoring at 9.7 points per game. But he has bolstered not only the Thunder’s bench but also given the team another facilitator on the court who is versatile enough to run the team and knock down open shots.
But Harden went into Golden State shooting just 38.7 percent in his past nine games, apparently losing more and more confidence with the passing of each contest. Harden hadn’t had a dominant performance since a 122-104 win over Houston on March 24, when he scored 23 points on 6-for-10 shooting in his first game back from a six-game absence as the result of a hamstring injury.
But maybe Sunday night was the start of something good for Harden. The Thunder definitely needs it to be.
"We like what he does,” said Brooks. "But like I told him, ‘The pressure that you have is to play every night hard and play for your teammates and make plays. You don’t have to go in there and give us 15 to 20 points. You’ve got to go in there and attack and be aggressive and make the right basketball play.’”