NBA

Rockets' James Harden on reported feud with Chris Paul: 'It was a lot of false talk'

By Sports Desk July 20, 2019

James Harden insists there is no bad blood between him and Chris Paul.

The Houston Rockets star was rumoured to have had enough of Paul following their second-round playoff exit at the hands of the Golden State Warriors in May.

Some reports stated Harden would not answer Paul's phone calls after last season and claimed the duo's relationship was "unsalvageable."

Paul has since been traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder, with Russell Westbrook coming the other way in a blockbuster deal.

However, Harden told reporters on Saturday that speculation of friction between him and Paul was not accurate.

"It was a lot of false talk," Harden said. "Obviously as team-mates, as competitors we argue on the court. You have your disagreements on the court. Your arguments on the court. But that's just part of basketball. Everybody has that. No matter what level of basketball you're in.

"All the negative media stuff and all the stuff that was running, it wasn't true. Me and Chris had constant communication and you know, we're good."

With Paul now out of the picture, Harden is set for a reunion with Westbrook, who he played alongside in Oklahoma City from 2009-12 before being traded to the Rockets.

Harden led the NBA in scoring with 36.1 points per game while Westbrook averaged a triple-double for a third straight year in 2018-19.

"I'm excited for this opportunity," Harden said. "It's a new chapter, but I know he's [Westbrook] excited."

 

Related items

  • Ben Simmons given three-point target after landing his second as 76ers trounce Cavs Ben Simmons given three-point target after landing his second as 76ers trounce Cavs

    Philadelphia 76ers coach Brett Brown wants to see Ben Simmons attempt at least one three-pointer in every game after the All-Star scored from beyond the arc for only the second time in his career.

    Having broken his three-point duck against the New York Knicks last month, Simmons prompted huge cheers at the Wells Fargo Center on Saturday when he made a basket from range in a 141-94 thrashing of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

    The Australian point guard finished the contest with a career-high 34 points and was duly set a target by his coach in a post-game news conference.

    "This is what I want and you can pass this along to his agent, his family, his friends and to him," said Brown. I want a three-point shot a game, minimum. The pull-up twos ... I'm fine with whatever is open. But I'm interested in the three-point shot.

    "The mentality that he has where he's turning corners and taking that long step, that gather step, and bringing his shoulders to the rim and trying to dunk or finish tight, will equal higher efficiency, or getting fouled. That's the world that interests me the most. Those two things.

    "The drama of it is overblown. The reality [is] that he can shoot and ultimately it's going to need to come into his game in a pronounced way from an attempt standpoint, that's not overblown. I think the drama surrounding it is completely overblown.

    "When I put on my coaching hat and I'm looking at a 23-year-old young man trying to grow his game, it's completely, first, in his wheelhouse. And, secondly, he will be liberated. His world will open up. And I think, in many ways, so will ours."

    Simmons was quoted by ESPN as saying: "I'm getting more comfortable. Obviously, throughout time I'm getting more comfortable with the game, and just learning my spots. And just adjusting."

  • Simmons, Doncic lead 76ers & Mavs to crushing wins Simmons, Doncic lead 76ers & Mavs to crushing wins

    The Philadelphia 76ers and Dallas Mavericks won big in the NBA thanks to Ben Simmons and Luka Doncic.

    Simmons scored a career-high 34 points as the 76ers humbled the Cleveland Cavaliers 141-94 in Philadelphia on Saturday.

    The All-Star was almost unstoppable in 26 minutes of action, making 12 of 14 field goals and hitting nine of 12 free throws to help the 76ers improve to 11-0 at home.

    Philadelphia stayed perfect on home court despite the absence of Joel Embiid due to a left hip contusion.

    Reigning Rookie of the Year Doncic, meanwhile, fuelled the Mavericks' 130-84 demolition of the New Orleans Pelicans.

    Doncic posted 28 points, nine assists and six rebounds in 26 minutes for the Mavs, who led 64-52 at half-time.

     

    Westbrook records triple-double

    Russell Westbrook had his third consecutive triple-double in the Houston Rockets' 115-109 win at home to the Phoenix Suns. Westbrook finished with 24 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists. Rockets team-mate James Harden scored 34 points.

     

    Cavs set season low

    It was a tough night for the Cavaliers. Their 36 first-half points set a season low for points in a half, less than the 40 they managed against the Orlando Magic on Friday.

    Lonzo Ball endured a forgettable game. The Pelicans guard was one of nine from the floor for just two points in 27 minutes. He also missed all seven of his three-point attempts.

     

    Simmons drops another three

    Prior to this season, Simmons had never made a three-pointer in the regular season. He is now up to two following this effort from beyond the arc.

     

    Saturday's results

    Dallas Mavericks 130-84 New Orleans Pelicans
    Philadelphia 76ers 141-94 Cleveland Cavaliers
    Indiana Pacers 104-103 New York Knicks
    Houston Rockets 115-109 Phoenix Suns
    Utah Jazz 126-112 Memphis Grizzlies

     

    Raptors at 76ers

    It is back-to-back home games for the 76ers (16-7), who welcome reigning champions the Toronto Raptors (15-6) to Philadelphia on Sunday. The 76ers will be looking to stay unbeaten on home court, while the Raptors can snap a two-game losing streak.

  • 'Awful' Clippers give Giannis birthday gift as Bucks make it 14 in a row 'Awful' Clippers give Giannis birthday gift as Bucks make it 14 in a row

    Doc Rivers felt the Los Angeles Clippers had given Giannis Antetokounmpo "a birthday gift" with their dreadful performance as the Milwaukee Bucks cruised to a 14th consecutive NBA victory.

    On his 25th birthday, reigning league MVP Antetokounmpo had 27 points, 11 rebounds and four assists in only 26 minutes as the Bucks cruised to a 119-91 home win.

    An emphatic victory in a game between two teams expected to compete for a place in the NBA Finals saw the Bucks move to 20-3 while the Clippers fell to 16-7.

    Rivers' team have gone 3-6 on the road and star duo Kawhi Leonard (17) and Paul George (13) were restricted to 30 points between them before being pulled early in the fourth quarter.

    "It was Giannis' birthday, and we searched all over the city to find a gift, couldn't find one, so we gave him this one," coach Rivers said, per ESPN, after Friday's loss.

    "That's all I can come up with because we were awful. They were so much more physical than us. It was not even close.

    "We have not maximised them [Leonard and George] offensively yet.

    "We keep looking at our offensive numbers, and I've been saying it: It's fool's gold. We're not ready offensively yet. Our numbers say different but this is where analytically, I'm right. I can see it."

    Leonard and George also had five turnovers each in the Clippers' worst loss of the season.

    "We just have to get comfortable with the plays," Leonard said of playing with George. "Just going out there and being able to run it without thinking, getting into our spots early. The flow will come.

    "We're just a work in progress. This team has been put together this year. 

    "We've got to figure it out. Some of us don't know the plays coming down, and it's hard to get in our sets. We've just got to keep striving."

    The Bucks' 14 consecutive wins is their best streak since 1973, with Antetokounmpo their driving force.

    "The fans were unbelievable," the Greek said. "They made me feel special. They made this day feel special. 

    "Usually a lot of people, their birthday, they celebrate, they go out, they do all that. But that's not me. That's not what I do. But the fans made it really special for me."

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.