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James Harden on the Golden State Warriors: We’re Right There

Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images
Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

James Harden has used the offseason to recruit Chris Paul and strengthen his body.

James Harden and the Houston Rockets fell short of the NBA Finals last season.

The consistent San Antonio Spurs and indomitable Golden State Warriors placed the Rockets firmly in the third spot.

By the end of the series against San Antonio, Harden played as if he had just ran a marathon. He looked tired, sluggish and overmatched. In Game 6, Harden scored just 10 points on 2-11 shooting. The Rockets were outscored by 28 points while Harden was on the floor, and they lost the game by 39 points.

James was knocked down, but he didn’t give up.

Harden posted a shirtless picture of himself shooting a free throw on Instagram of his svelte physique. The superstar has added yoga and pilates to his exercise regimen and cleaned up his diet. James Harden wants to ensure that he can last the entire season, via Sam Amick of USA Today.

“Every summer, it’s about getting better and putting yourself in a position to last an entire season. I know how exciting this season is and I know how important it is, so I’m going to take full advantage of it. I have a lot of charity (events), a lot of things going on, but when I’m in that gym that’s kind of my getaway. That’s kind of when I’m locked in.”

Chris Paul gives Houston a more balanced offense.

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Chris Paul was ready to part ways with the high-flying, drama-filled Clippers, and Harden needed a co-star to lighten his load. It was a match made in heaven. James took it upon himself to sell CP3 on joining the Houston Rockets, via USA Today.

“I just knew that in the summertime obviously (Paul) was a free agent, and I wanted to see where his head was. He didn’t seem happy, so after that we just took it from there. Obviously Golden State has been in the Finals and won two out of three, so that’s what everybody is trying to build up against. But we’re right there. We’re right there. Obviously, we have a lot of work to do, but it definitely puts us in a better chance.”

The acquisition of Chris Paul should also keep Harden’s legs fresh over the course of a grueling season. Last year, The Beard scored 32.7 percent of Houston’s points and dished out 58.3 percent of the team’s assists. Besides Russell Westbrook, Harden had arguable the largest offensive burden of any player in the NBA. Paul allows Harden to spend more time playing off the ball, which will boost his efficiency and keep him fresh.

Next: Bleacher Report Ranks Best and Worst Offseason Move by Rockets

Obviously, the Rockets are attempting to slay the four-headed dragon in Golden State. Houston’s offseason moves have narrowed the gap between the Warriors and the Rockets. As James Harden said, Houston is right there.