James Harden SG HOU 7 Hrs

James Harden said that while he and Dwight Howard are the cornerstones of the Rockets, the rest of his teammates are "role players."

Speaking to The Philippine Star, Harden said, '"Dwight [Howard] and I are the cornerstones of the Rockets. The rest of the guys are role players or pieces that complete our team. We've lost some pieces and added some pieces. I think we'll be fine next season." Harden presumably didn't mean any disrespect with his comments, but he may have some explaining to do with some of his teammates.

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Rockets coach Kevin McHale said his team needs to be "more aggressive defensively" to advance deeper into the playoffs next season.

"We're going to have to put more pressure on the ball," McHale said. "We're going to have to probably trap and attack more defensively. We were all year long in the top five, six, seven in defensive field-goal percentage against. Our defensive rebounding has to pick up." The Rockets' core players remain under contract for 2014-15 but GM Daryl Morey isn't likely to stand pat. He'll need to fend off suitors for restricted FA Chandler Parsons, and may look to trade away Jeremy Lin and/or Omer Asik in the pursuit of another max-contract free agent.

James Harden SG HOU 2 Months

James Harden and Joakim Noah have been selected to the 2013-14 All-NBA First Team, the first time they've received the distinction in their careers.

Kevin Durant was the only First Team player to be unanimously selected, and he was joined by LeBron James and Chris Paul. Noah's terrific season earned him Defensive Player of the Year honors, in addition to his First Team selection, and Harden made the squad by joining LeBron as the only players to average at least 25.0 points, 6.0 assists and 4.0 rebounds.

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James Harden scored 34 points on 9-of-15 shooting (4-of-6 3PTs, 12-of-12 FTs) with four rebounds, six assists and four steals in the Rockets' crushing Game 6 loss to the Blazers on Friday.

In an instant classic, Harden showed up but it will be his defensive deficiencies and inability to run a championship caliber team that characterize his playoff performance. On the other hand, Dwight Howard (26 points, 11 boards, one steal, two blocks) was great all series long and showed significant leadership on the court. Chandler Parsons added 16 points with 12 boards, including the would-be game winning putback with 0.9 seconds left before Damian Thrillard dropped a bomb for the ages.

James Harden SG HOU 3 Months

Kevin McHale lamented the Rockets' collapse in Game 4, saying that his team "didn't execute very well" in the second half.

"We held the ball way too often. We didn't attack enough," McHale said. "We had a ton of opportunities." James Harden appeared to be frustrated that the Rockets turned to Dwight Howard on numerous possessions down the stretch, but McHale justified the decision by saying, "Dwight was being aggressive, we didn't have much aggression today." They'll have to iron out their differences quickly or risk losing the series 4-1 when Game 5 is played in Houston on Wednesday.

James Harden SG HOU 3 Months

James Harden shot 13-of-35 from the field for 37 points during Game 3's 121-116 overtime win to go with nine boards, six assists, two steals and three 3-pointers.

It's the most shots ever taken by a Rocket in a playoff game, breaking Hakeem Olajuwon's record of 34 in 1990. Olajuwon scored 54 points in that game, which was obviously much more efficient than Harden's tonight. He is taking way more mid-range jumpers in this series and perhaps that has to do with the Blazers keying on him while he has the ball. This is arguably the most fun series to watch and Game 4 will be Sunday night in Rip City.

James Harden SG HOU 3 Months

James Harden hit just 6-of-19 shots and two 3-pointers for 18 points, three rebounds, four assists and a steal in Wednesday's Game 2 loss to the Blazers.

Chandler Parsons also struggled, hitting just 5-of-15 shots for 15 points and seven rebounds. Dwight Howard was great in the first half and Houston was in this one until the end, but the poor shooting in the second half by all three players was too much for the Rockets to overcome. Harden is the only player in these playoffs to attempt at least 19 shots in each game, and shoot less than 33 percent, which is a big reason the Rockets find themselves heading to Portland down two games to none.

James Harden SG HOU 3 Months

James Harden admitted that he "didn't play well offensively" in Game 1, when he scored 27 points but shot only 8-of-28 from the field.

That included a 3-of-14 mark from downtown and while much credit is due to Wes Matthews' defense, Harden knows he needs to have better shot selection. "I just have to be more precise on my shots and be aggressive," Harden said. "The first half, I didn't really attack and get to the rim like I wanted to."

James Harden SG HOU 3 Months

James Harden admitted there was a lack of ball movement in Sunday's loss to the Blazers.

"That goes to myself. I have to not be so ball hawking. I have to do a better job," Harden said. In all of the games over the weekend, only six players in the NBA touched the ball more than Harden's 92 times and he was obviously the focal point of Houston's offense. His shot selection wasn't great and he made just 8-of-28 from the field, which was uncharacteristic based on his stellar post-break run. He should get it turned around on Wednesday as Houston looks to even the series at home.

James Harden SG HOU 3 Months

James Harden, Jeremy Lin, Chandler Parsons and Omer Asik all took Wednesday off in preparation for the playoffs.

None of them have a real injury that we know of and it should be all hands on deck as they prepare for the Blazers in Round 1.