After leading the Brooklyn Nets to a blowout 117-91 victory over the Detroit Pistons following the ejection of Kevin Durant on Sunday, James Harden admitted that his game is slowly but surely “getting there.”
“I’m starting to feel real, real good and I have to continue to keep being aggressive and make it easy for my teammates,” Harden said.
His last two games should certainly instill some confidence after a slow start to the 2021-22 season.
After dropping 29 points against the Indiana Pacers on Friday, Harden recorded his 59th career triple-double — tying Larry Bird for seventh-most in NBA history — against the Pistons, posting 18 points, 10 rebounds, and 12 assists.
“I’m just playing. The confidence and just my rhythm and all that is coming back simultaneously together. It just feels much, much better,” Harden said. “I knew I was going to have a slow start because I wasn’t playing a lot. But I knew the work was going to catch up and ultimately I was going to get back to where I need to be.
“Game by game, I’m just feeling better. More confident, extra pep in my step. Just overall much better.”
This latest promising development in Harden’s game comes as he continues to adjust to life following his recovery from a nagging hamstring injury that forced him to tweak his game last season while spending most of the offseason focusing on rehab rather than on-court work.
“Earlier [this year] and later in [last] season, I was relying on my IQ a lot,” Harden admitted. “Now, just being aggressive, being assertive and IQ is just automatically going to be there. Whether it’s getting to the basket, coming off pick-and-roll and being aggressive, isolation and being aggressive, and taking what the defense gives me.
“Don’t overthink the game. Just go out there and be myself.”