Rockets’ James Harden strangely facing criticism for Giannis clap-back

Houston Rockets James Harden (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Houston Rockets James Harden (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

Although Houston Rockets guard James Harden has handled Giannis Antetokounmpo’s insults with class, he’s facing unfair criticism for simply responding to it.

The bizarre one-sided beef between Giannis Antetokounmpo and Houston Rockets star James Harden got alot more interesting on Friday morning. Harden finally acknowledged Giannis’s jabs and issued a subtle-yet-legendary clap back of his own.

This was bound to happen and was essentially the only course of action for Harden to take. Giannis had been poking the bear and throwing shots at James to the point where it became disrespectful, so everyone would surely understand if/when Harden decided to respond, right?

Wrong. It’s been quite surprising but Harden has actually been facing criticism for simply responding to slugs being thrown his way, because any logical person would do the exact same thing. In fact, Harden didn’t even say Giannis’s name, although we know that’s who he was referring to.

So what’s wrong with Harden simply responding? It’s not like he started this or initiated it, in fact he hasn’t said a word about Giannis all season.

It’s been interesting how Giannis has gotten a pass considering the role he’s played in creating this and building it up, because we know if it were Harden we’d be hearing about how he needs to refrain from talking and simply “focus on the playoffs”. Speaking of which, that would probably be a good idea for Giannis, especially based on his performance in the 2019 Eastern Conference Finals.

Just your reminder that in the 2019 ECF, Giannis had a 51.8 TS%, shot 58.3% from the line, averaged less than 23 points and averaged 5.5 assists per game to 4.2 turnovers

That is all

— Disney Gary Clark (@Itamar1710) February 28, 2020

The reality is Giannis’s comments towards Harden have been quite hypocritical considering how he’s never had more assists than Harden despite the fact that he’s surrounded with just as much talent as Harden. In fact, the Bucks and the Rockets each had six double-digit scorers during the 2018-19 season yet Harden had 586 total assists compared to Antetokounmpo’s 424.

It doesn’t stop there though, as the Bucks have had seven players who are shooting 34 percent or better from 3-point range this season (while playing in at least 45 games) compared to the Houston Rockets who have just four. In essence, Giannis has had twice as many options to kick out to so why doesn’t he have more assists this season? In spite of being surrounded with more shooters, Giannis has just 302 total assists this season while Harden has 403.

We’ve already discussed how erroneous Giannis’s claims were regarding Harden’s perceived defensive woes, so it’s not necessary to re-hash that. Giannis has been perceived by the media as a humble player but can that be when he’s taking shots at Harden, who doesn’t even play in his conference, let alone his position?

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It’s clear Giannis was trying to hype up this feud and fuel up the public misinformation about Harden, and since he was immensely wrong, it was the right move for Harden to clap back. It’s commendable that Harden was able to refrain for so long but it’s unfortunate that the masses haven’t realized how classy he’s handled this. At least we’ve noticed.