James Harden accepts Kobe Bryant’s claim that the Houston Rockets cannot win the title when they rely so heavily on the NBA MVP – but is confident that situation will change when they have a fully-fit roster.
Superstar Harden extended his 30-point streak to 27 games by draining 44 in Monday’s 118-110 beating of the Phoenix Suns.
It was the 20th time this season that Harden has scored at least 40 points in a match and improved the Rockets’ record to 31-22, the fifth best in the Western Conference.
Los Angeles Lakers great Bryant told ESPN following the win that the Rockets will not compete for the championship if they continue to be so reliant on Harden.
“I’m not a fan in terms of winning championships, I don’t think that style is ever going to win championships,” Bryant said.
“[They will not win the title] with this style of play, it won’t win with one player dominating the ball.”
Harden acknowledged that Bryant has a point but is confident the Rockets – who have seen the likes of Chris Paul, Eric Gordon and Clint Capela miss time due to injuries over the course of the season – can mix it with the best when everyone is fit and firing.
“I mean I have to be ball dominant just because we have injuries,” he told reporters.
“We had injuries through the course of the year but [when] we get Chris in a rhythm, Eric back, [then we have] multiple guys making plays, multiple guys that can dominate the ball.
“Right now he is probably right. This way that we are playing won’t happen in the playoffs, won’t get us where we want to go, but we haven’t had a full roster. Yet I am excited for that to come.”
Back-to-back wins on the road, #TheUnguardableTour continues! pic.twitter.com/Q2tstTMYTw
— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) February 5, 2019
In terms of his sensational points-scoring streak, Harden sees no reason why his form should let up.
“I’m just trying to keep going. Nothing can slow me down,” he added.
“Nothing can stop me. I’m trying to give that same motivation to my team-mates and it’s not about scoring, it’s about attacking the game, being aggressive with the game of basketball – defensively, offensively. That’s all I can give to them.”