James Harden has had an inconsistent 2021-22 season so far.
On Tuesday night it was time for one of his bigger games against the Nets crosstown rivals, the New York Knicks.
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The Beard balled out, nearly recording a triple-double with 34 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists and three steals in 40 minutes of action. Postgame, he credited NBA legend Reggie Miller, who was courtside calling the game for TNT.
“He the one that got me going for sure,” Harden said in the postgame press conference.
James Harden says Reggie Miller motivated him before tonight’s game vs. the Knicks:
“Reggie’s the one that got me going. Ultimate confidence, ultimate ‘best player in the league’-type vibe. That mindset. Just hit me with some good motivation before the game – something I needed” pic.twitter.com/FmaqqalEUC
— Nets Videos (@SNYNets) December 1, 2021
As part of the showcase, Harden also provided the NBA with a rare putback dunk. According to him, it’s the first of his career.
“It might’ve been the first one of my career, 13 years,” Harden said postgame. “I had to let it out. I wasn’t that great when I looked at the highlight, but it felt great”
The tight 112-110 victory not only helped the Nets rebound from a Saturday night loss to Phoenix, but also helped Harden regain his form after a dismal outing (7 TO’s, 4-15 FGs) in which he was booed by fans at the Barclays Center.
In fact, after that game, Harden’s comments on being unsure about when to score and when to make plays for others went viral given how well he balanced those responsibilities through the second half of last season with the Nets.
Brooklyn will be hoping this outing against the Knicks will launch Harden’s return to elite form on a more consistent basis.