James Harden and Chris Paul reportedly had a post game verbal dispute after being eliminated in Game 6 of the Semifinals. Here’s why it isn’t a big deal.
The Houston Rockets had a lot on the line in this past season. They had a chance to take down an all-time great team and James Harden and Chris Paul had the opportunity to boost their personal legacies.
Naturally, tensions tend to run high after coming up short. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Harden and Paul had a spirited discussion that spilled into the locker room after the Rockets were eliminated in Game 6 of the Western Conference Semifinals.
“But Harden and Paul had tense moments with one another throughout Game 6, culminating in a verbal back-and-forth postgame that went into the locker room, sources with knowledge of the situation told The Athletic. Sources said the verbal exchange between Harden and Paul was regarding the ball distribution throughout Game 6. By the time the remainder of the locker room was ready to talk, Paul and Harden had gone their separate ways, with Paul swiftly making his way to the postgame podium. The Rockets dispensed with exit interviews this year, so the media hasn’t been able to ask Paul or Harden about the disappointment.”
Houston’s back court played well in Game 6, as Harden led the team in scoring with 35 points and Paul added 27 points, 11 rebounds and 6 assists. However, the Rockets were outscored 36-26 in the fourth quarter after controlling most of the game, and the Rockets obviously wish they could have a few possessions back.
With that being said, Harden and Paul’s argument isn’t that big of a deal. Players and coaches have disagreements all the time in every single professional sport. This is a great team with huge expectations, and it isn’t surprising that a couple of players let their frustration get the best of them after a crushing defeat.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that neither Harden or Paul voiced their displeasure in the media. They kept their disagreements in the locker room, and they didn’t throw anyone under the bus in front of the cameras.
Dysfunctional teams with poor leadership air out their dirty laundry either in interviews or on social media, causing damaged relationships that are irreparable. The Rockets know better than that, and after the sting of defeat wears off, they will settle whatever differences they have and devise a plan to come back better than ever.