James Harden was tremendous on the offensive side of the ball in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals. He poured in 41 points on 14-of-24 shooting and dished out seven assists, directly contributing to 55 of the Rockets' 106 points. Unfortunately for everyone in Houston, it wasn't enough, as the Warriors won 119-106 to take a 1-0 lead in the series and steal home-court advantage.
A day later, Harden was clearly frustrated by the loss, and he decided to express it by talking spicy to the media.
"We're in this together," Harden said on Tuesday afternoon. "I can't do it by myself, we need everyone to be at their top play. Whether it's [Chris Paul], whether it's Eric [Gordon], whether it's [PJ Tucker], we need to just open up, 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 we'll figure it out."
Yikes. It's understandable that Harden is frustrated after losing a game in which he dropped 41 points, but this is not a great sign. He didn't exactly come out and trash his teammates, but he was certainly sending a message that they need to be better.
And now, he's absolutely right. Chris Paul was fine, finishing with 23 points and 11 assists, and Eric Gordon had 15 points off the bench, but pretty much everyone else was a non-factor. Trevor Ariza, P.J. Tucker, Ryan Anderson, Luc Mbah a Moute, Nene and Gerald Green combined for a whopping 15 points. That's never going to be good enough, but especially not against the Warriors.
However, Harden deciding to send that message in public rather than in the locker room is risky. We'll see if it pays off in Game 2 on Wednesday night.