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Thunder's James Harden showing signs of consistency

by Darnell Mayberry Modified: January 5, 2011 at 9:18 pm •  Published: January 5, 2011

DALLAS — James Harden is gradually growing into the type of player every coach dreams of having.

One who is consistent.

“That's hard, especially for a young guy,” said Harden. “But it's something I'm working hard to do.”

Harden, the Thunder's second-year shooting guard, has been doing a pretty good job lately.

Entering tonight's game at Dallas, Harden has scored in double digits in each of the past 12 games. That streak might be modest for many. But for Harden, it's a career-best.

“He's been real aggressive scoring the basketball,” said Thunder guard Eric Maynor. “And we need that out of him. He's confident. He's been playing good. He's just got to keep it up.”

Harden had a horrific start to his sophomore season. In 15 November games, Harden averaged 8.6 points on 39.6 percent shooting. His body language was worse than his body of work. Harden looked lost, like a rookie all over again. His hesitation to pull the trigger on jump shots, his indecision in initiating offensive sets and his consistent inconsistency at finishing plays at the rim characterized his lack of control.

Thunder coach Scott Brooks repeatedly needed to nudge Harden to shoot.

Not any more.

Harden has scored at least 10 points in 17 of his past 20 games. In the season's first 16 games, Harden had only five games in which he scored in double figures.

“Just finding different spots to be aggressive and score,” Harden explained.

Harden averaged 8.4 shots attempts in 15 December games. It put him just shy of his career-best 8.6 attempts from December 2009. But Harden connected on just 35.7 percent of his attempts that December. This year, Harden averaged 13.9 points on 46.7-percent shooting in December, his highest scoring average in any month.

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by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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