James Harden has been a key part of the Houston Rockets since being drafted in 2009. In his 10 seasons, he’s won two MVPs and made four All-Star appearances. But on January 27th, 2018, James Harden was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Chris Paul and Sam Dekker. This trade left fans shocked and confused about what would happen next.
The 2012 nba finals is a blog post by James Harden. In the article, he talks about how they got to Miami and their time in South Beach before Game 3 of the NBA Finals.
It’s not exactly ground-breaking to say that James Harden enjoys partying. Because he was out partying with rapper and songwriter Lil Baby, he missed the opening of Houston Rockets training camp. In the 2012 NBA Finals against the Miami Heat, Kendrick Perkins suggested that The Beard’s passion for the nightlife lost the Oklahoma City Thunder a shot at a title.
In the 2012 Finals, the Heat beat the Thunder in five games, although the series was more closer than most people remember.
In the 2012 NBA Finals, the “Big Three” Miami Heat seemed to stroll right over a youthful and eager Oklahoma City Thunder squad. The series was decided in five games, earning LeBron James his first title.
The series, though, was far closer than most basketball fans recall.
The Thunder won Game 1 in Oklahoma City, thanks to Kevin Durant’s 36 points and Russell Westbrook’s outstanding all-around effort. In Game 2, they were down early but rallied to within two points in the last minute. Durant had a chance to tie the game, but his effort was insufficient, and the Heat were able to tie the series.
As the series moved to South Beach, Kendrick Perkins did all he could to help OKC, scoring 10 points and grabbing 12 rebounds in Game 3. The Heat, on the other hand, seized control of the series with a stifling defensive effort, despite the Thunder being in the game until scoring only 18 points in the fourth quarter.
Game 4 was a watershed moment for the team. In the first quarter, the Thunder jumped out to a 14-point advantage. Miami, on the other hand, outscored OKC 60-42 in the following two quarters and held the Thunder at bay in the fourth. Oklahoma City had a chance to tie the series. Instead, the Heat built a 3-1 lead and won Game 5 in a rout to round off the series.
When the series moved to Miami, Perkins thinks the young Thunder, particularly James Harden, were affected by the glamour of South Beach.
James Harden “disappeared” in Miami, according to Kendrick Perkins.
On June 17, 2012 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida, Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat prepares to try a technical free throw against Kendrick Perkins and James Harden of the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game Three of the 2012 NBA Finals. | Getty Images/Mike Ehrmann
James Harden was a crucial part of the Thunder’s 2011-2012 season.
In his age-22 season, Beard established himself as one of the NBA’s most promising young players. Harden led the Thunder with 16.8 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 3.7 assists per game off the bench, earning the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year Award.
Against a powerful Heat team, the Thunder badly needed Harden to offer shooting and playmaking off the bench. On the Forgotten Seasons podcast, Kendrick Perkins suggested that the former Arizona State star became sidetracked when the series shifted from OKC to Miami.
“When we get in Miami, South Beach contacts us, right? James Harden has vanished. Completely vanished off the face of the planet. His statistics that… I mean his numbers in the Finals were mind-boggling when we needed him the most. I’m not sure what it was, but I’m sure he wasn’t there.”
On the Forgottenteen Seasons Podcast, Kendrick Perkins (2021) says:
Is Perkins’ assertion true? That’s a little difficult to judge.
During a first-round sweep of the Dallas Mavericks, James Harden put up impressive numbers. On almost 50% shooting, he averaged 18.3 points, 5.5 rebounds, 4.3 assists, and 2.5 steals per game. However, he struggled against the Lakers in the conference semifinals, shooting only 35.8% from the field and 25% from beyond the arc.
In the Western Conference Finals against the San Antonio Spurs, the Beard bounced back, averaging 18.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 3.7 assists while shooting 60.9 percent from outside the arc. He struggled against the Heat, averaging just 12.4 points per game and shooting under 40% from the field.
It’s tough to tell if Harden’s play and the Finals’ location are inextricably linked. On the one hand, in his first two games in Miami, he shot a total 4-of-20. However, it’s worth noting that he didn’t play much in Game 1 in OKC, shooting 2-of-6 and played just over 22 minutes. Furthermore, in a must-win Game 5, Harden scored 19 points while Westbrook shot only 4-of-20 from the floor.
Has Harden been influenced by his time in South Beach? Is it conceivable that the Thunder were just too inexperienced to defeat the Heat?
Put it down to inexperience.
What Kendrick Perkins fails to mention is how inexperienced the Thunder squad was.
Oklahoma City has its fair share of illustrious veterans. Nick Collison was a stalwart of the franchise and a holdover from the Seattle SuperSonics. Perkins and Derek Fisher had both been in the Finals and knew what it needed to win on the greatest stage.
Nonetheless, the Thunder relied on Durant, Westbrook, and Harden to surpass LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh in the end. That’s a big request.
Furthermore, if it is true that South Beach became a diversion for someone like Harden, shouldn’t Perkins and others bear some responsibility for reeling him in and keeping him focused?
Sure, The Beard’s penchant for getting drunk has only gotten stronger over time. However, blaming James Harden’s low numbers in the 2012 Finals on distractions in Miami seems to be a stretch, especially given the opponent and youth factor.
Basketball Reference provided the statistics.
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James Harden is a professional basketball player for the Houston Rockets. In 2012, he was in Miami and South Beach when he disappeared. Reference: james harden 2012.
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