Time zones are weird. Here on the East Coast, the Houston Rockets had a really, really lousy February 25th, and it was all James Harden’s fault; on the West Coast, it turned out okay, all thanks to James Harden.
When halftime arrived in last night’s game in Portland, at around 11:50 EST, the Rockets were down by 15 and well on their way to falling a half-game behind the Utah Jazz for the West’s 8th playoff seed. They looked like listless shit, and if you wanted to blame James Harden for it, you had ample ammunition. To that point he’d recorded a measly 12 points on 13 shots, was a gruesome 1-for-6 from three, and had turned the ball over four times; worse than that, a report by CBS Sports’s Ken Berger earlier in the day had identified him as the driving force behind both coach Kevin McHale’s firing back in November and last week’s failed efforts to trade away Dwight Howard. The team’s CEO denied that claim prior to last night’s game, but even so, probably it did not do wonders for locker-room bonhomie!