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[Yahoo]Jeremy Lin and James Harden are the NBA’s best backcourt. Do not argue

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by devin23, Nov 3, 2012.

  1. devin23

    devin23 Member

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    ATLANTA - "Is there water in my beard?"

    James Harden fluffed his beard, the shorthand symbol of his identity, as he prepared to speak to a collection of media that reached legitimate throng status. The beard is the easy signifier, a Halloween prop come to life. You see a guy rocking a beard the size of a cafeteria tray, you figure he's a clown, a throwback to Dennis Rodman and other stars whose flash overwhelmed their substance.

    And then he takes the court, and you start to rethink your opinion. Harden, in the first games of his fourth year, is on the very edge of superstar status, and he's looking like he's ready to assume the role.

    This time last year, Harden was a role player on an ascending Oklahoma City team. But a breakout playoff performance, a Sixth Man award and an Olympic gold medal (plus a little notoriety at the elbow of Metta World Peace) and Harden solidified his credentials enough that the Thunder decided he'd be better off as trade asset than employee. So Harden packed his bags and his beard and journeyed about 500 miles down Interstate 45.

    Harden thus gave Houston its second straight meteor hit, following the Rockets' summer signing of instant phenom Jeremy Lin. And with Harden and Lin, the Rockets now have -- hey, why not call it like it is? -- the finest backcourt in the NBA.

    Granted, two games is not exactly a representative sample size. But in their first 96 minutes together, Harden and Lin have exceeded every expectation, forming a no-look, pick-and-rolling machine that's accounting for the overwhelming majority of Houston's points. They've got youth and an array of skills, facets that other top duos (Kobe/Nash in L.A., Manu/Parker in San Antonio, Deron/Joe Johnson in New Jersey) just can't match. Not yet, anyway.

    Friday night in a thorough 109-102 dismantling of the Atlanta Hawks, Harden and Lin demonstrated that they deserve every bit of the praise ladled on them. Harden scored 45 points on 14-of-19 shooting. Lin came within three assists of a triple-double, posting a 21-10-7 line. And while both of them have their quirks -- Harden dribbles like the floor is sticky, Lin sometimes takes on the fling-up-everything role of a rec league ballhog -- bottom line is that these two have the kind of complementary game that could make Houston a very tough opponent, at least in two positions.

    The media loves to saddle players with readymade storylines, to reduce every guy dribbling a ball to a one-word characteristic: ASCENSION. DOMINATION. REDEMPTION. For Harden and Lin, the prepackaged storyline is REVENGE. Lin's gonna want revenge on the New York Knicks for letting him twist in the wind! Harden's gonna tear Oklahoma City a new one for shipping him out of town!

    If that's the storyline, someone needs to slip Lin and Harden a script. Neither one seems particularly interested in the vendetta concept. Hell, these guys have had just three practices together; they're probably more concerned with remembering each other's roles in the playbook.

    "I go from coming off the bench to having the offense run through me," Harden said. "It's an adjustment. But it's my job. I'll be fine."

    If anything, they're focused on how to lead a very young team. "You saw our youth today," Lin said, talking about the 14-point lead that the Rockets let vanish. "We got leads and we gave them back. Great teams don't do that. I'm just glad we stuck it out ... Sometimes you've got to win ugly, and that's what we did tonight."

    As the media surrounded first Harden and then Lin in Philips Arena's tiny locker room, Houston's Royce White looked around and shook his head, and said "Wow." But he had no doubts about the value of the media circus that he'll see at every road stop: "It's good for our organization, it's good for Houston, it's good for the team," he said. "Everybody's young. James is playing like a veteran even though it's only his fourth year. Lin is playing really well. That young factor helps them gel really well."

    They're also happy to heap praise like Thanksgiving seconds. "He does a great job of creating and making plays, both for me and for himself," Harden said of Lin. "He can get me the ball where I need it. That's what makes us so good together."

    "I can't say enough about him," Lin said. "It's not just me (he helps). He frees everyone up." Lin paused and smiled a grateful smile. "We're just thankful he showed up."

    -Follow Jay Busbee on Twitter at @jaybusbee.-
     
    2 people like this.
  2. G Zus Kryst

    G Zus Kryst Rookie

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  3. devin23

    devin23 Member

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    1 person likes this.
  4. laserguy183

    laserguy183 Member

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    It's been a long time since I've read so many rockets articles written by national media, especially in one week.
     
  5. hotballa

    hotballa Contributing Member

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    I'm going to enjoy this. Bring on the HYPE.
     
  6. MKL

    MKL Member

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    The media is going to love his backcourt. Both very nice young men.
     
  7. flamingdts

    flamingdts Member

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    They are nice young people indeed.

    But their story, as this article suggested, is going to be built around vengeance. The media will make them out like they are out for revenge either way. Heck, you could even throw Asik in that category to be honest.

    Maybe they should change the Rocket's slogan to "Revenge".
     
  8. RockSC

    RockSC Member

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    No media hype please...
    on the other hand, 45 pts with 19 shots. DAYUM.
     
  9. liljojo

    liljojo Member

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    What's our slogan this season?
     
  10. Good Times

    Good Times Member

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    Just a tidbit but James grew up in an asian majority city, not that this may have made him more open to playing with Lin.
     
  11. MKL

    MKL Member

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    Lin is Californian. There is very little Asian to him. He's just a humble rich baller with a degree in economics from Harvard. It's really unfair to us mortal humans.
     
  12. Entropy

    Entropy Member

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    I think James is just a good person in general, who has the basketball IQ to see that playing with Lin is going to be effective for both of them.
     
  13. Baba Booey

    Baba Booey Contributing Member

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    Let's hope Jay Busbee is better at calling basketball than NASCAR. his yahoo "expert" status as a fantasy NASCAR guy is a freaking joke. I have to agree with this article, though.
     
  14. MKL

    MKL Member

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    You can also tell James Harden is really good guy. Putting up MVP type numbers doesn't hurt neither.
     
  15. ROF2012

    ROF2012 Member

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    It is fun to watch them :)
     
  16. Horry4theWin

    Horry4theWin Member

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    All aboard the hype train!

    Rockets fans better be ready because haters are going to begin to start calling the Rockets OVERRATED!
     
  17. D-rock

    D-rock Member

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    Harden-Lin-Asik

    The Avengers
     
  18. ccjj

    ccjj Contributing Member

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    Best back court duo, I am not so sure, yet.
    But highest BB IQ, by far!
     
  19. SunsRocketsfan

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    Lol At the rec league ballhog comment. for those of us that played in rec leagues... We all know that guy
     
  20. Coban Hutton

    Coban Hutton Member

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    Dial 713 for Houston
     

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