Houston Rockets: The James Harden and Giannis feud has been terrific

Houston Rockets guard James Harden (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Houston Rockets guard James Harden (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

Houston Rockets guard James Harden and reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo have been trading shots across bows and it has been fun to watch. What’s up?

The Houston Rockets are ascending up in the Western Conference standings and have a sterling 11-2 record since the team has committed to small ball fully.  Mike D’Antoni had to try something different as the current roster as it stood was underachieving which that’s not something Houston Rockets management wants to see, considering the significant investment made in James Harden and Russell Westbrook.

The Los Angeles Clippers were able to successfully take down the Denver Nuggets in a 132-103 beatdown at the STAPLES Center last night.  I’m sure we’ll all be scoreboard watching for the rest of the season to try to gauge where the Houston Rockets will end up when the dust settles from 2019-20 season.

As it stands right now, the 38-20 Houston Rockets are 1.5 games from the Clips and Nugs who both are in a dead heat with a 40-19 record.  They have a tremendous chance of being able to leapfrog both teams to go as high as the second-best record.

The Los Angeles Lakers are just so far ahead — 7.5 games ahead of the Houston Rockets — it’s highly doubtful that they (or any team for that matter) will catch them.

But it’s going to be fun to watch this last stretch of the season!

While those objectives are trying to be met, we’ve got a semi-feud going on between reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and James Harden, stemming from some comments that were made at the 2020 All-Star Draft selections that were made earlier this month.

Giannis was a captain this season and he refused to pick Harden on his team, retorting that “I want somebody that’s gonna pass the ball, that’s all I want.”

Harden recently fired back in an interview with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols where he compared Giannis’ eventual selection, Kemba Walker, to himself.

Here’s what he said:

"“I average more assists than him I think,” Harden said of Walker. “I don’t see what the joke is. I don’t even see it, I don’t pay attention to stuff like that. I just know none of them can mess with me.”"

He even took things further but never mentioned Giannis by name in the interview as well:

"“I wish I could just run and be 7 feet and just dunk,” Harden said near the end of the interview. “Like, that takes no skill at all. I gotta actually learn how to play basketball and how to have skill. I’ll take that any day.”"

Harden is absolutely correct as he’s such a gifted player that has a knack of being able to put the

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ball into the basket.  The Harden-step, the fake to allow defenders to fall into him to have them create contact to draw fouls is not easy to do and it’s something I admire the most about him.

He’s the hardest-working man in the NBA and this guy doesn’t like to take days off and I’m positive he’s played games hurt, tired, emotionally drained…whatever.  Harden is here for this team and ready to show up for work when scheduled.  He punches the time clock with precision.

So to say that Harden is a ball-hog is simply hogwash.  He not only has a knack for scoring himself but creating points for his teammates as well, it wasn’t too long ago where he led the league in such a unique stat.  He’s got help with Russ on the other end so he doesn’t have to do that as much but Harden still an assists leader, still being among the Top 10 currently at 7.3 per game.

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All I have to say is that I’m absolutely here for this feud to continue and it’s going to be a fun matchup next month — Wednesday, March 25 — against the Milwaukee Bucks on the road.  It will be their final face-off of the season and a prime-time matchup on ESPN.

Get your popcorn ready!