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James Harden, SF, Rockets: B
James Harden's performance was a perplexing one.
He shot just 9-of-24 from the floor but finished with 36 points. A relentless rim attack allowed him to go 17-of-18 from the foul line. He had six assists as well, yet complemented those with six turnovers. He'll need to pick his spots better in the ensuing games and adjust when he draws contact, because it doesn't always get called.
The guard-turned-small forward did put forth a valiant effort on the glass. He finished with 11 rebounds and was as aggressive as anything when corralling Oklahoma City's misses.
Harden never got into any sort of a flow defensively, though. He saw time opposite Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, among others. The assignments were difficult, and he was unable to effectively cut off the Thunder's dribble penetration.
Turbulent outings like these aren't what Houston needs from Harden, but he's why the Rockets nearly pulled this one out.
Kevin Durant, SF, Thunder: A-
Like Harden, this was a topsy-turvy outing for Durant as well.
He scored 29 points on 10-of-25 shooting (2-of-9), which is very unlike him. He hit a huge three-pointer late in the game, though, that helped secure Oklahoma City's victory.
His shot wasn't falling at the rate he is used to, so Durant elected to put an emphasis on playmaking. He dropped nine dimes and committed just one turnover.
I would have liked to have seen him be more aggressive in looking for his own shot in the fourth, but he still did what he had to when called upon.
The Durantula was also effective on the defensive end. He blocked one shot and he, along with Serge Ibaka, provided the best help defense of anyone on the Thunder.
No, it wasn't a normal Durant performance. We're used to him being far more efficient. But he was still incredible and managed to lead Oklahoma City to victory.