Rockets’ James Harden Can’t Do the ‘Carlton Dance’

Houston Rockets star James Harden is really good at basketball, but he’s apparently not a very good dancer.

While hanging out with Alfonso Ribeiro, the actor who played Carlton in The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air, the two did the “Carlton Dance”. Unfortunately, Harden struggled trying to do the dance.

For those who aren’t familiar with it, here is the original “Carlton Dance”.

[Instagram, h/t Black Sports Online]

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James Harden Keeps His Beard Flawless by Calling a Beard Guru

If you have ever wondered how Houston Rockets star James Harden keeps his iconic beard in such good shape, here’s your answer.

NBA 2K revealed that Harden has a beard guru. Of course, this ad is a great way to promote the game’s new face-scanning technology.

[NBA 2K]

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Who Faces More Pressure to Perform This Season: Carmelo Anthony or James Harden?

Carmelo Anthony and James Harden are two superstars who have polarized the league over the course of their careers, and both face a different challenge this year as the 2014-15 NBA season approaches. Which All-Star faces the most pressure to perform?

Howard Beck and Ric Bucher join Adam Lefkoe to debate that topic in the video above.

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Redhot Irving, Harden Lead Team USA in Rout of Serbia to Win Gold at FIBA World Cup

Team USA captured the gold medal in the FIBA Basketball World Cup, making quick work of Serbia, 129-92. Serbia led the game by eight points midway through the first quarter. Then Kyrie Irving and James Harden took over. The pair lit up the Serbs for 26 and 23 points, respectively. They also combined for just two turnovers. USA Basketball dominated the entire tournament, winning all nine games by a margin of 20 points or more.     The post Redhot Irving, Harden Lead Team USA in Rout of Serbia to Win Gold at FIBA World Cup appeared first on Basketball Bicker.

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Redhot Irving, Harden Lead Team USA in Route of Serbia to Win Gold at FIBA World Cup

Team USA captured the gold medal in the FIBA Basketball World Cup, making quick work of Serbia, 129-92. Serbia led the game by eight points midway through the first quarter. Then Kyrie Irving and James Harden took over. The pair lit up the Serbs for 26 and 23 points, respectively. They also combined for just two turnovers. USA Basketball dominated the entire tournament, winning all nine games by a margin of 20 points or more.     The post Redhot Irving, Harden Lead Team USA in Route of Serbia to Win Gold at FIBA World Cup appeared first on Basketball Bicker.

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How James Harden Can Use FIBA World Cup to Jumpstart Season with Houston Rockets

James Harden’s Team USA experience wasn’t supposed to be this way. The Houston Rockets shooting guard was originally expected to fill the “super sixth man” role normally reserved in Olympic competition for Carmelo Anthony. 

But then some of his colleagues decided their summer didn’t need a trip to Spain. Kevin Love, Russell Westbrook, LaMarcus Aldridge and Blake Griffin said thanks but no thanks, Paul George broke his leg and Kevin Durant backed out in the eleventh hour. All these things are “bad” for Team USA, but great for Harden.

He’s spent the tournament as a lead ball-handler and primary scoring option instead of a break-in-case-of-emergency alternative off the bench. How can his expanded role in international competition jumpstart Harden’s 2014-15 season? And how will the Rockets be affected?

 

Offense

There’s something different about playing on a team surrounded by the country’s very best players. Instead of waving off Francisco Garcia or Jeremy Lin, Harden is directing traffic for the likes of Stephen Curry, Derrick Rose and Kyrie Irving. It’s more stimulating. More powerful.

Instead of standing in the corner as a spot-up option, Harden is carving opponents up in transition, running unstoppable pick-and-rolls with Anthony Davis and dictating the game’s flow with unfettered confidence. 

Through eight games, Team USA’s captain is averaging 13.1 points per game on 49.3 percent shooting. His 38 free-throw attempts also lead the team. Not that he has anything to prove on offense at this point, but Harden is further establishing himself as one of the four or five best scorers in the world. It’s in two other areas where he needs to get better.

 

Defense

Harden has 19 steals in FIBA competition, which leads Team USA. Steals are miles from the be-all and end-all statistic able to grade how any player is doing on defense, but in this case it deserves some mentioning.

Harden’s sometimes porous defense is still what most people think of whenever his name is uttered. Compared to his last season with the Rockets, it’s been up-and-down on Team USA, with most of his mistakes coming away from the balllosing his man on a baseline cut or failing to see a back screen before it catches him like a fishnet.

But much like it’s been in the NBA, Harden’s effort is mostly there whenever his man has the ball. He has quick hands, is one of the strongest shooting guards in the league and makes the ball-handler work for progress. In this tournament, Harden is consistently closing out on shooters, too. 

Due to a lowered level of competition, it’s difficult to watch the members of Team USA and say for sure whether any individual improvements will translate back to the NBA. But what we’ve seen from Harden is at the very least promising. 

 

Leadership

Leadership is an intangible attribute needed from any superstar, and heading into the World Cup, Harden was still searching for some of it.

For all the amazing and impressive things Harden did last year, it wasn’t enough. Houston was still upset up in five games by the Portland Trail Blazers partly because its best scorer couldn’t score. 

Normally one of the league’s sharpest spears, Harden made just 34.7 percent of his shots from the floor through that series’ first five games. The points were there, including a 37-point explosion in Game 3, but it took 35 field-goal attempts to get there. That’s not good. 

But the more important issue here was how Harden responded on a game-to-game basis. Having a bad night or even a bad series isn’t the worst thing in the world. But amid his struggles on the basketball court, Harden’s public response was far from sophisticated. 

As reported by The Oregonian’s Mike Tokito:

When a reporter from a national organization asked him about his struggles, he got short. ‘It’s basketball – making shots,’ Harden said before moving onto the next question.

But when his media session in the Rockets’ opulent locker room ended, Harden went back at the reporter, asking if he had ever seen a player not play well before. The reporter answered that the struggle seemed unusual for Harden and was coming on a major stage, the playoffs.

The two went back and forth for a while, with Harden asking the reporter if he’d ever seen a basketball game before, then demanding to know whom the reporter was. The exchange got testy enough that team officials stepped in to usher Harden out.

As he left the room, Harden called the reporter ‘weirdo.’

Who knows how Harden acted around his teammates or in the locker room? And passing judgment on someone’s character or mindset based on one isolated incident doesn’t do much good. But still, lashing out at a reporter and showing public frustration after just two playoff games isn’t how a wise, experienced star is expected to act. 

Playing on Team USA, being among the best of the best in another country on a daily basis and facing a different type of pressure, Harden is reportedly taking steps in the right direction. 

Harden told reporters that he understands his situation:

This is a different platform. A platform that I haven’t really been on before, but I think most of us haven’t been on it, either. I think we’re all kind of figuring it out together. That’s what’s going to be so special about this team. We figure it out together and we come out with a gold medal, it makes it that much more special.

Team USA chairman Jerry Colangelo agreed that Harden is ready to become more of a leader: “Right now, I think I would look to Harden as that leader. Harden is kind of a natural leader and he seems to be willing to accept that role. And you can just kind of feel it and sense. He’s the one.”

The Rockets pay Harden his max contract to provide 25 points on a nightly basis. They pay him to live at the free-throw line, run top-notch pick-and-rolls and take big shots in big games. 

But they also need him to become a competent defender. They also need him to rise off the court in times of hardship and struggle. He’s only 25 years old, but as the Rockets’ best player he still needs to lead. 

Playing on Team USA won’t make Harden a better three-point shooter or decision-maker on the fast break, but it just may give him the experience necessary to elevate himself in other ways that matter.

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Between a Rock and a HARDEN place…

Maybe it’s the beard. Maybe somehow those wily, long, facial follicles somehow became infected by the hot dog particles left there by a meal days gone by. Then maybe that infection had travelled up the follicle canal to the epidermis where it migrated through the cranial cavity and finally settled in the frontal lobe of the brain of one Mr. James Harden. The “HEbola” virus if you will..as in, HE has no idea what he is talking about. That has got be the only reasonable explanation for the words that came out of the young Houston Rocket’s shooting guard’s mouth recently. He uttered, “I am the best player alive right now.” Now don’t give me the whole, “What is he supposed to say? Players need to think they are the best to compete against the best.” If he had said, “I am the best player in the league.” I would have given him a pass. But to say you are the best player ALIVE right now?? We are moving into the psych ward area…Maybe he just has a different definition of the word alive….For

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James Harden Throws a No-Look Alley-Oop to Kenneth Faried vs. Slovenia

Team USA had its way with Slovenia in the third quarter of its 2014 FIBA World Cup quarterfinals game and was even able to show off just how much athleticism is on the team during a fast break.

In the third quarter, James Harden led a fast break and finished the play by feeding Kenneth Faried with a no-look lob that turned into two easy points. 

It was a close game at the half, but the United States pulled away in the third quarter thanks to plays like this.

[gifdsports]

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James Harden Falls off His Segway in Spain

Team USA and Houston Rockets star James Harden recently spent some time cruising the streets of Barcelona on a Segway. He learned the dangers of open-air vehicles the hard way.

Harden had a scary moment when he fell off his Segway after he got too close to the barrier. Luckily, he wasn’t hurt in the incident; more likely, he was just hoping no one saw him.

[YouTube, Twitter; h/t Reddit NBA]

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Ty Lawson Zings James Harden and Dallas Cowboys with a Single Instagram Post

The Dallas Cowboys had the worst defense in the NFL last season, and it doesn’t look too much better in the first game of the 2014-15 season.

A picture of Houston Rockets star James Harden as the Cowboys’ defensive coordinator as been floating around the Internet. That was something that Denver Nuggets point guard Ty Lawson thought was pretty funny.

Lawson posted the picture above—during the Cowboys’ season opener—with the following caption: “Cowboys defensive coordinator #Rp.”

There has been a lot made of Harden’s defense in the past, and given the Cowboys’ performance on Sunday, some people believe there may be a connection.

[Ty Lawson]

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