In the sixth game of their second-round National Basketball Association playoff series on Thursday, Latvian forward Davis Bertans' San Antonio Spurs defeated the Houston Rockets 114:75 to advance to the Western Conference finals.
Harden took only 1 shot in the 1st quarter and 11 shots total to finish 2-11 from the field with 10 points, 6 turnovers, and he fouled out just to add to his bad stat sheet.
The Spurs will now face the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference finals. But, at the same time, San Antonio beat us.
And those images will linger for some time.
That starts with Harden, who finished with 10 points, three rebounds and seven assists and shot just 2 for 11 from the floor - including 2 for 9 on three-pointers. After all, he played the third-most minutes in the league during the regular season.
The Spurs will certainly need his stellar defensive skills to contend with a Warriors team that not only swept the Jazz, but also eliminated the Trail Blazers in four games in the first round. "Especially the way we were resilient all year long, fought through adversity". We've been really good at bouncing back. But he will get better.
After an MVP caliber regular season, Harden took a bit of a step back during the Rockets playoff 11-game playoff run.
Houston also sorely missed the post presence of Nene, who sat out Games 5 and 6 with a left adductor tear.
During Game 6, Harden averaged a speed of 3.36 miles per hour while on the court.
Despite the uninspiring performance, general manager Daryl Morey said that Harden's struggles on Thursday night shouldn't negate what he accomplished this season.
Harden did get a standing ovation after fouling out from the Rockets fans that did remain in the building when the game was winding down. "Everyone's disappointed, but he's No. 1".
A somber Harden was clear about who was to blame for the loss. I mean, he's had a historic year, and you can't just say, 'OK, one game.' and all of the sudden, social media goes insane.
Houston coach Mike D'Antoni wasn't sure if the disappointment of losing a winnable Game 5 could have lingered with his team and contributed to this embarrassing blowout. Meanwhile, the Spurs would win each of the four quarters as a team, and the Rockets would dot the box score with a myriad of stylistic red flags (like finishing with a higher three-point field goal percentage, 32.5 percent, than OVERALL field goal percentage, 28.6 percent).
"We're hungry, we're not satisfied", Mills said.
It's easy for fans and skeptics to rail on them right now due to their embarrassing exit. But he will get better.
On the other end, San Antonio bottled up Houston by locking them down in transition and by winning the individual match-ups on the perimeter.
"We've got a whole summer.to put it behind us", Harden said.