The superstar Houston Rockets backcourt of Russell Westbrook and James Harden has represented Team USA well over the years.
In addition to all they’ve accomplished in the NBA, James Harden and Russell Westbrook have also shined on the international stage for Team USA basketball. The fierce Houston Rockets pair were teammates in Oklahoma City during the 2012 Olympic Games that saw them both help the United States capture gold in London.
Both guards have represented the country twice in international play, with the 2012 gold medal team being the highlight for each. Westbrook also represented the United States in the 2010 FIBA World Cup that captured the gold in Turkey while Harden played a key role on the 2014 World Cup team that did the same.
With the Fourth of July upon us, here’s a look back at the best individual games Westbrook and Harden each had as a member of Team USA.
Russell Westbrook – United States vs. Nigeria at the 2012 Olympics
At 23-years-old, it only took until the third game of Russell Westbrook’s Olympic debut campaign for him to make some noise. After convincing wins over France and Tunisia to tip off the preliminary round, Team USA was expected to stomp Nigeria. With the help of Westbrook, they did exactly that.
Westbrook scored 21 points in the game to go along with three steals and two assists, making 3-of-4 shots from downtown in the process. Westbrook’s highly-efficient 7-for-8 shooting night was just one of several impressive performances by members of the team.
The United States’ all-time leading Olympic scorer, Carmelo Anthony, poured in 37 points on 10-of-12 shooting from deep while Kobe Bryan chipped in 16 points in just 11 minutes. In the end, Team USA set an Olympic record for points in a game with a dominant 156-73 win over Al-Farouq Aminu and Nigeria.
James Harden – United States vs. Serbia in the 2014 World Cup Final
When it came to the 2014 FIBA World Cup, James Harden saved his best for when it mattered most. After going 5-0 in preliminary play, the United States cruised through the knockout rounds against Mexico, Slovenia and Lithuania before a looming Final against Serbia.
The Beard made sure the result was never going to be in doubt, scoring 23 points on 8-of-11 shooting and 3-of-5 from beyond the arc. Only Kyrie Irving had a better night against Serbia, shooting a perfect 6-for-6 from 3-point land and finishing with 26 points.
Perhaps the most impressive thing about Harden’s game was his zero turnovers in 21 minutes, especially considering how ball-dominant he usually is.
Nemanja Bjelica paced Serbia with 18 points and four rebounds, but Harden and Team USA won convincingly by a score of 129-92 to take home the gold.
Both Harden and Westbrook have done plenty for the country, both on and off the court, but their work likely isn’t done yet. Both have expressed interest in playing in the next Olympic Games, which has been postponed until 2021 for now.