Harden shot poorly again during Sunday's 109-89 loss to the Heat. Trailing by 19 at the half, the Heat went on a 21-1 run in the fourth quarter to flip the blowout script.
Harden was horrid in the second half and didn't register a point in the fourth quarter. He finished with 16 points for the second straight game, 12 of which came via the free-throw line. He shot 2 of 15 from the field and was 0 for 10 from 3-point range. In three games, Harden carries a 22.2 field-goal percentage, and he's sunk a putrid 3 of the 32 shots he's taken from behind the arc.
We could go on. Point is, it's bad. And the Rockets are the first team in NBA history to open a season with three losses by 20 points or more.
Questioned about his shot selection after the game, Harden downplayed a fundamental issue.
"I'm just shooting my shots that I would normally shoot. I'm not trying to think about it too much. As good as a shooter as I am, I'm going to have struggles throughout the season. It's tough. I've just got to stay with it. ... We've lost three in a row, but it'll get better."
It won't get much easier. Harden and the Rockets next host the high-scoring Thunder and former teammates Westbrook and Kevin Durant, who are 3-0 and coming off a 117-93 shellacking of the Nuggets. Both are among the top five in scoring, in a place Harden resided all of last season. It seems like forever ago.
Spurs of the moment: Ageless wonders Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili became the NBA's all-time winningest trio, notching No. 541 together with a 95-87 victory over the spry Celtics. It was fitting, since Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish previously held the record. The Spurs' newcomer LaMarcus Aldridge was the catalyst, though, scoring 24 points with 15 rebounds and five assists in his best performance with his new team.