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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
/articleid/3529724/1/pictures/1327616">Photo - James Harden has scored in double digits in each of the past 12 games. Photo by Hugh Scott, The Oklahoman
James Harden has scored in double digits in each of the past 12 games. Photo by Hugh Scott, The Oklahoman

And Harden has started January attempting nine shots per game in the Thunder's first two contests, making 55.6 percent of those attempts while averaging 14.5 points.

“He's been very consistent,” Brooks said. “This is not the final improvement that James is going to have…But he's being a good, consistent basketball player right now.”

Harden's defense and inconsistency were the two biggest road blocks preventing him from cracking the starting lineup. And even though Brooks has yet to budge on tinkering with his first five, Harden is doing his best to give his coach more to think about.

Even Harden's defensive skills are improving. While he still struggles with a few mental lapses, Harden has improved as a man defender and shows flashes of quick hands that help him come up with steals and the occasional blocked shot. At Memphis on Tuesday, Harden single-handedly forced the Grizzlies into a shot-clock violation when, on the same possession, he hounded Tony Allen and Sam Young so much they both failed to get off a shot.

Harden credits extra time spent working out before practices and shootarounds as the key to his turnaround.

“Just trying to build up good, positive habits so I can be consistent night in and night out,” Harden said. “I'm expecting something good out of it. Even if I don't have a good night shooting, I'm just trying to contribute in other ways to the game.”

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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