NBA Playoffs 2014: James Harden’s Dominance Against The Portland Trail Blazers

By Michael Ma

Jan 20, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets shooting guard

James Harden

(13) signals after scoring a basket during the fourth quarter against the Portland Trail Blazers at Toyota Center. The Rockets defeated the Trailblazers 126-113. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Portland Trail Blazers had absolutely no answer for James Harden in the regular season, and the same could hold true in the upcoming first round playoff matchup.

Harden averaged 30.2 points, 7.2 rebounds, 5.3 assists, and shot 45 percent from the 3-point line as the Houston Rockets won 3 of 4 meetings in the season. More importantly, it seems as if the Blazers don’t have an answer to contain Harden.

According to SportVU, Harden’s main defender, Wesley Matthews, guarded him on one-on-one situations for a total of about 30 minutes in the regular season. During that span, Harden shot 58 percent(11 for 19) against him, 56 percent(5 for 9) from the 3-point line, and scored a total of 35 points.

Harden also wasn’t bothered when the Blazers threw defensive stopper Nicolas Batum on him as well; in 10 minutes during the 4 season meetings where Batum defended Harden one-on-one, Harden scored 23 points on 67 percent shooting from the field(6 for 9), and 4 for 4 from the 3-point line.