Harden, who tweaked his hamstring in Game 1 of the series and missed Games 2-4, logged nearly 46 minutes in Game 5 to help lift the Nets to a 114-108 win, which gave them a 3-2 series lead.
But The Beard wasn’t all smiles despite managing to suit up at Fiserv Forum. In fact, he was downright furious at points in the first half.
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Harden Fed up With Giannis
Giannis Antetokounmpo finished the regular season shooting 68.5 percent on free throws, a few ticks below his career average of 71.7 percent. But both of those numbers dwarf the accuracy he’s shown against the Nets.
Through the first five games of the series, Antetokounmpo was averaging 7.2 free throws per game while shooting a miserable 41.7 percent on those attempts.
In a sense, that hasn’t even been the most egregious part of Giannis’ trips to the free-throw line. Just ask Harden.
Early in Thursday’s game, ESPN cameras caught the Nets star appearing fed up with how long Antetokounmpo was taking to shoot his free throws. Anything beyond 10 seconds is a violation — a rare occurrence in the NBA. Giannis, meanwhile, has already been whistled for it multiple times this postseason.
The two-time MVP was back to taking his sweet time during his free-throw attempts in the first half of Game 6. In one instance midway through the first quarter, Nets fans at Fiserv Forum appeared to be counting the seconds as Giannis stood at the line. And in the background, Harden angrily yelled while waving his arms.
It happened again late in the first quarter. With Giannis going through his protracted process at the line, cameras once again caught Harden disgruntled. The Beard tossed his arms in the air and turned away this time.
On Twitter, ESPN analyst and budding Nets superfan Mina Kimes weighed in.
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Giannis Roasted for His Free-Throw Routine
During halftime of Game 3, ESPN analyst Jay Williams aired his opinion on Antetokounmpo’s free-throw process — and he didn’t mince words.
“Here’s a stat for you, Jalen Rose: It takes a shorter time for Usain Bolt to run a 100-yard dash than it does Giannis to shoot a free-throw,” Williams said. “You would think if you’re shooting 28 percent from the free-throw line tonight and 23 percent for the series, why is your routine so long? It should be faster so you’re not spending as much time thinking about the shot, and just reacting and shooting the shot.”