NBA Playoffs 2017: James Harden’s Houston Rockets ready to eliminate Russell Westbrook’s OKC Thunder in Game 5

James Harden of the Houston Rockets
PHOTOGRAPH: Keith Allison/Flickr | James Harden of the Houston Rockets

The Houston Rockets just need to defeat the Oklahoma City Thunder one more time in order to advance to the Western Conference Semifinals. However, James Harden’s Game 4 performance proved to be a major concern as he went 5-for-16 from the field and 0-for-7 from the three-point range.

It was revealed that Harden rolled his ankle in Game 3, making it hard for him to drive to the basket. However, the five-time NBA All-Star assured that he will be ready when they host the Thunder on Tuesday night. “Got some treatment, and I’ll be ready to go tomorrow,” Harden said before Monday’s practice.

James Harden, the leader the Houston Rockets need

With the departure of Dwight Howard last summer, James Harden is currently playing as the Rockets’ lone superstar. Despite losing the star center, the Rockets managed to show better performance this season. The improvements Harden showed proved to be the major reason behind the Rockets’ success.

He undeniably has the capacity to lead a team on and off the court. Despite suffering a minor injury in Game 4, Harden chose to play and do everything to help his team beat the Thunder.

“It’s the playoffs, everybody is banged up, so you just got to find a way to fight through it and find a way to help your teammates win games,” Harden said. “For me, it’s not necessarily scoring. I don’t have to score a certain amount of points as long as I’m making the right plays and guys are getting shots, everybody is in a good rhythm — that’s all that matters.”

James Harden is currently a top candidate for 2017 MVP award. He finished first in assists and second in scoring in the 2016-17 NBA regular season. Unlike other superstars, Harden played all the regular season games despite suffering a jammed wrist.

Can the Houston Rockets end the series in Game 5?

As the series shift to Toyota Center, the Houston Rockets are in a strong position to eliminate Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 5. Despite Westbrook’s incredible performance every game, the Rockets still proved to be a better team than the Thunder.

In Game 4, some people noticed that the Thunder struggled when Westbrook was not on the court. In a post-game interview, Westbrook took the opportunity to defend his teammates and said that all of them should be blamed whenever the team loses.

“Say, ‘Russell, the team hasn’t played well,” Westbrook said. “Don’t say, “When Russell goes out, the team doesn’t play well.’ That doesn’t matter. We’re in this together.”

Photo courtesy: Keith Allison/Flickr

Video courtesy: Youtube/Pro Basketball

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