Kent Bazemore has no problem admitting when he’s on the wrong side of a beautiful play. And on Tuesday night when the Atlanta Hawks played the Houston Rockets, that was the case against reigning NBA Most Valuable Player James Harden. The Rockets star has broken more than his fair share of ankles throughout his career, and Bazemore was very close to being the latest victim.
During the first quarter, Harden faked Bazemore out in brutal fashion, leaving to the Hawks guard literally spinning in circles, via ESPN.
It was an impressive fake from Harden and on Wednesday morning, Bazemore took to Instagram to address it in the most perfect way possible. Aside from calling Harden “an assassin,” he also made sure it was known that he’s “alive and well.”
Kudos to Bazemore for the response, because he definitely owned the moment. For what it’s worth, most players probably would have fallen, but he was able to avoid having his ankles completely broken by Harden, so that’s at least a small win.
James Harden Completes Superb Feat Against Hawks
Heading into Tuesday’s game, the Hawks were the one team in the NBA who Harden had not scored 30 or more points against this season. It’s pretty incredible to think about, and as ESPN shows, the entire list of teams and the scoring marks he’s hit against them are eye-opening.
Even going beyond the baseline number of 30, Harden has topped 40 points against 17 teams. This includes a 50-point showing against the Los Angeles Lakers, 54 points vs. the Washington Wizards, 57 against the Memphis Grizzlies and 58 against the Brooklyn Nets. Then there was the infamous 61-point game against the New York Knicks in which Harden was simply on another planet.
Rockets’ Playoff Outlook
After Harden’s near-triple-double against Atlanta which featured 31 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds in a 121-105 win, the Rockets moved to 45-26 on the season. This leaves them with a 1.5 game lead for the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference, ahead of the Portland Trail Blazers. Behind them sits the San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder, both of which the Rockets lead by three games for the third seed.
As far as the two teams ahead of Houston in the standings, they’re 3.5 back of the Golden State Warriors for the top spot and three back of the Denver Nuggets for No. 2. It’ll take some work for Harden and company to catch either team, but it’s not completely out of the realm of possibility.