Rockets: Giannis’ jabs at James Harden’s defense are now haunting him

Giannis Antetokounmpo (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Giannis Antetokounmpo (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /
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Houston Rockets
Giannis Antetokounmpo (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

Back when the NBA was operating normally, Giannis Antetokounmpo took shots at Houston Rockets star James Harden but was recently humbled in a big way.

Last season, Giannis Antetokounmpo took home the NBA’s MVP award despite James Harden putting up a league-leading 36.1 points per game. The decision didn’t sit right with the Houston Rockets Twitter page, stating that they “respectfully disagree.” As it turned out, that was only the first spark in what became a fiery rivalry between the two superstars.

Disagreements over MVP voting led to some subtle jabs from Harden about the fairness of MVP voting and whether Giannis truly deserved the award. It wasn’t until the All-Star break that the shots at each other heated up, beginning with Antetokounmpo joking about Harden’s tendency to dominate the ball.

“I want somebody who’s gonna pass the ball,” said Giannis as he passed on drafting Harden to his All-Star squad. While said with a smile, Giannis then took another unnecessary shot at James after the game when asked about his team’s strategy.

“Offensively, we were just trying to find whoever James Harden was guarding. That’s who we thought we’d have the opportunity to score on,” revealed Giannis.

James Harden certainly wasn’t innocent when it came to fueling the fire of the feud, clearly targeting Giannis in an interview with Rachel Nichols soon after. “I wish I could just be seven feet and run and just dunk,” said Harden. That takes on skill at all.”

Next: Breaking down the criticisms