It was already late night, when the ball bounced around the Toyota Center and the net releasing a sound “swish” after “swish”, its James Harden again – the last man to leave after shooting practices. He was never been this determined and more focused in his career.
This playoff is all about payback time against the Oklahoma City thunders- the team that Harden helped all the way to the 2012 NBA finals, but failed to sign him for a contract extension.
So far, for the last two games Houston never really gave the Thunders a problem, with Kevin Durant leading his team to 2-0. It wasn’t how Harden envisioned this playoff series to be. He needs to step up more.
Just about a year ago, James played in the NBA finals; he tried so hard and struggled all throughout. Many questioned if he deserves a maximum contract after a woeful finals performance. But Houston took the risked and gambled on Harden. And he never disappointed them.
Somehow James understood his worth, and leading his team to the playoffs would be his redemption.
With Russell Westbrook gone with a torn meniscus, the Houston Rockets found a soft opening towards OKC’s brick wall. And James knows he had to make a move now if ever he wanted to win a series against them.
It has been almost a year, and much has been changed throughout. From coming off the bench all the way to a franchise player, James at age 23 had to mature fast and lead his team. He love and trusted his teammates so much, because he sees himself in them. From undrafted Jeremy Lin all the way to their overseas playing rookie Patrick Beverly, the Rockets as a team wanted to prove something.
It’s going to be a long shot towards an NBA finals appearance. But for James a win against his former team would be a good statement.
From shooting and team practices, we all know James would be the last one to leave. This is his team now and his responsibility.
The captain would always be the last one to leave his ship.