1. James Harden Hits Himself in the Face
Looking for their first win of the season after an opening night loss against the Milwaukee Bucks, James Harden and the Houston Rockets hosted the New Orleans Pelicans for a matchup on October 26th. The game was heavily contested throughout, with no team ever leading by more than ten points.
While Zion Williamson wasn’t able to play in the game, Brandon Ingram and Josh Hart picked up the slack for the budding superstar, keeping New Orleans in the game until the buzzer sounded. Russell Westbrook and James Harden were carrying the Rockets all night, shooting a majority of the team’s field goal attempts.
One such shot “attempt” by The Beard came in the closing seconds before halftime, as he looked to draw the foul on a 3-pointer as the buzzer sounded. Seeming to lose the ball after making contact with Pelicans’ guard Josh Hart, Harden’s frustration then resulted in this:
James Harden accidentally hit himself in the face with the ball and Josh Hart was shook ? pic.twitter.com/l1FeUn0cxX
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 27, 2019
It’s not every day you see someone slam a basketball into their own face, but Harden’s irritation with not getting a call caused just that.
The most hilarious part about the play, however, was Josh Hart’s priceless reaction to what he just saw. His look of pure confusion rightfully became one of the biggest NBA memes of the season, becoming a go-to gif for anyone wanting to express bewilderment over a situation.
Asked after the game whether the ball hurt him, Harden had a priceless answer of his own:
I guess that’s one benefit of having a beard like Harden’s: it provides a lot of cushion.
The Rockets would go on to have the last laugh over the Pelicans to record their first win of the season, 126-123. Despite the hit to the chin, Harden finished with 29 points, five assists and four rebounds that night.