We have all heard the talk. James Harden doesn’t show up in the playoffs and Harden has been outplayed by other superstars. The last two years have ended with disappointment as the Golden State Warriors have ended the Rockets season both years.
If you actually look deeper into the numbers you will see that the “Harden chokes every playoff” narrative is actually false. Harden has had several bad performances in the playoffs that is true but he also has had plenty of great playoff games. Specifically the last two years and in comparison to Stephen Curry one of Harden’s contemporaries. Let’s take a look at how James Harden has been better the last two years than Curry in the playoffs.
Numbers don’t lie
The last two years Harden has averaged more points, rebounds and assist. Harden has averaged 30.1 points 6.7 assist 6 rebounds. Curry averaged 26.8 points 6 rebounds 5.5 assists. Harden was the Houston Rockets best player both years and had eight games of 30 or more in 2018. Curry only had two such games. Even the infamous 2017 game 7 where the Rockets missed 27 straight 3-pointers Harden had 32 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assist and 4 steals.
In eight clutch games (games within five points in the last five minutes) Harden had 37 points (third in the playoffs). Curry in five more games had 35 points. Curry was 25 percent from the field in the clutch Harden was 47.8 percent from the field.
James Harden Narratives that need to go the way of dial-up internet
Those numbers are another example of how perceptions can override facts. Yes, Curry had a great second half to help close out the Houston Rockets in game 6 of last year playoffs but Harden was no slouch. Harden had 35 points 4 steals 5 assist and 8 rebounds. James Harden averaged over 35 points in last year Warriors series but unfortunately, the rest of the team did not show up. The last two years Harden has had big games in the playoffs but the high profile losses have overshadowed anything positive.
Harden the last two years has had a lot more good games than bad. He has outperformed Curry in the last two head to head matchups in the playoffs but Curry team has won both matchups. Curry great makes no mistake about it but for all the negative press about Harden, the numbers tell another story.
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