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I know that the Miami Heat would laugh at the title of this slide. They stopped Harden cold when they beat the Oklahoma City Thunder in the 2012 NBA Finals.
Hmmm.....what happened to LeBron James in the 2011 Finals against the Dallas Mavericks?
I'm not saying James Harden is as good as LeBron James. He isn't, and he never will be.
What I'm saying is that you should throw the 2012 Finals out the window, as far as Harden is concerned.
Still only 23-years-old, Harden has already made Daryl Morey look like a genius. The Rockets general manager envisioned Harden as a franchise player.
Forget the words "franchise player." Morey has brought a flat-out superstar to H-Town.
This superstar can get it done with whatever plan Kevin McHale draws up. Or he can improvise the whole show.
Harden proved at Minnesota that he can beat you on an off night. The Timberwolves were fearing no beard after three quarters of non-action. Harden had scored only 13 points, and the Rockets had no juice.
Plans 1A and 1B were already in the garbage can. The Rockets run-and-gun style was nowhere to be found.
So, Harden started going hard to the hoop. Call the moves slithery or call them strong. Just be sure to chalk him up for 17 points in the fourth quarter. That was a sudden 30 for the game in a huge 87-84 win.
Several messages were made clear. The Rockets have positioned themselves for a playoff run in 2013. They will go full tilt whether it's regular season or post-season.
James Harden will probably continue to lead the league in fast-break points and free throws made. He will likely remain second to LeBron in assists for NBA players that don't play point guard.
Harden might even challenge Kobe Bryant for First Team All-NBA at shooting guard. He's already neck-and-neck with Dwyane Wade for Second Team.
But the primary resolution for James Harden doesn't need to be said. It is completely understood by his teammates and coaches.
James Harden has been entrusted to take over the Houston Rockets whenever he deems it necessary. That resolution won't change for at least five more years.