James Harden: Rockets 'in this together; I can't do it by myself'

James Harden: Rockets 'in this together; I can't do it by myself'

On Tuesday, James Harden spoke with reporters.

He was pretty upbeat and talked about the Rockets needing to clean up some defensive breakdowns heading into Game 2.

The likely MVP also mentioned how he and his squad need to keep their "swag" and confidence high despite losing Game 1.

Did he speak with teammates about maintaining that attitude?

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"Yeah, yesterday I called guys. After the game I called guys," Harden said. "You can just tell as a leader when guys aren't happy or when guys aren't moving or having the same swag. So I just called guys to see how they're feeling.

"Some of the guys, it's their first time being here, but I know how hard they worked to get to this position so I want to make sure they're good and in a good place. And all the guys seem happy and motivated."

Hmmmmmm. When Harden said "guys aren't happy" is he referring specifically to Eric Gordon?

On Monday night, the Rockets' sixth man said the following to Marc Spears of The Undefeated:

“I definitely would like to get the ball more for me to be aggressive and get good looks. Offensively with everybody, we really don’t get real good looks ... we can’t isolate as much against a good defensive team. I don’t care who you are."

Speaking of looks, it's not a good look for Houston for comments like that to surface after just one game in the Western Conference Finals.

Harden was then asked a follow-up question: "What do you think it means for guys on this team -- role players particularly -- to hear from you after a game like that?"

"It means a lot, and it's not like it's the first time it happened," Harden said. "I called guys (during the) regular season, go eat with guys after games or what not. But it's a great feeling.

"Teammates call me because we're in this together and like, I can't do it by myself, and we need everybody to be at their top play -- whether it's CP, whether it's Eric, whether it's Tuck -- we just open up and just talk about the game, talk about things that we see, that they see from their angle.

"We can get better on things that they saw that actually worked, and figure it out."

One thing that needs to be made clear here is that when Harden said "I can't do it by myself," it wasn't delivered in a selfish context.

However, it's still an interesting choice of words.

Harden was spectacular offensively in Game 1 -- 41 points (14-for-24, 5-for-9 from 3) and seven assists.

But his defense was... absolutely awful:

Harden is right in saying the biggest adjustments for the Rockets need to be on the defensive end.

He is a big part of that...

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller

Draft prospect Michael Porter Jr says he's 'a little more physical' than Kevin Durant

Draft prospect Michael Porter Jr says he's 'a little more physical' than Kevin Durant

Michael Porter Jr. is...

... a confident soon-to-be 20-year old (his birthday is June 29).

How do we know this? Well, he said the following to Damon Amendolara of CBS Sports:

"Right now, I would say I'm a mix of Giannis and KD. I like going to the hole a little more than KD does. I like bumping into people; a little more physical than KD.

[LISTEN: Warriors Outsiders Podcast: Joe Lacob takes inventory; Melvin Frazier loves playing defense]

"But I like to shoot the ball a little more than Giannis. So that's what I like to compare myself to -- and also Tracy McGrady. I get compared to him a lot, and I like that one a lot, too.

"Those are three amazing players. It doesn't feel bad to be in the same conversation as them."

More physical than Kevin Durant, eh?

The 2017 and 2018 Finals MVP averaged 7.2 free throw attempts per game in the 2018 playoffs.

Who do you think is more looking forward to facing Porter next season -- Durant or Draymond Green?

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller

‘01 Lakers vs ‘18 Warriors: Who you got?


‘01 Lakers vs ‘18 Warriors: Who you got?

The 2000-01 Los Angeles Lakers went 56-26 in the regular season in defense of the previous season's championship. But the team, led by Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal, stormed through the playoffs, and lost just once en route to a second straight title.

"I'll take that '01 [Lakers] team against anybody in the history of the game," Bryant told Alex Kennedy of the HoopsHype Podcast last week. "Any team."

But what about another back-to-back champion? We're talking about the 2017-18 Golden State Warriors.

‘01 Lakers vs ‘18 Warriors. Who you got?

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This year's Warriors had a similar regular season (58-24), but posted a better offensive rating (113.6) and defensive rating (107.7) than their purple-and-gold counterparts from the start of the century, all while averaging about eight additional possessions per 48 minutes. Golden State shot better from the field (50.3 percent), from beyond the arc (39.7 percent) than Bryant's second title team, but Los Angeles did a better job limiting opponents in both areas. 

We'll never truly know without a time machine that could fit the Warriors' roster, but the current title-holders would have been a heck of a matchup for that Lakers squad.

Who would you pick? Sound off in the comments.