Rob Parker: “Last night people were saying that it didn’t look like James Harden was interested in closing the game, and didn’t have the ball enough at the end. What did you make of that ending for Houston against OKC last night.”
Isiah Thomas: “To me, James Harden is a person as a player, that at the end of the game I think he wants to be ‘needed’. And what I mean by that is he wants the coach to say ‘Give it to James.’ I don’t think James has the personality to say ‘OK, give ME the ball.’ He’s a nice guy and I think he’s a respectful talent out on the floor. Even though he’s a dominant talent, I think he’s respectful to his teammates. At the end of the game that coach has got to put the ball in his hands and THEN he’ll go do his thing. I think Kawhi Leonard is the same way, to be honest with you. I don’t think Kawhi is one of them guys saying ‘Hey, give me the ball at the end of the game and everybody move out of the way.’ If the coach designs a play and says ‘Kawhi, it’s your show’ he’ll go with it, and I think James Harden is the same way.” (Full Segment Above)
Listen to NBA Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas join The Odd Couple with Chris Broussard and Rob Parker to discuss the Houston Rockets' Game 6 collapse versus the Oklahoma City Thunder, that saw Russell Westbrook implode with the basketball in the dying seconds.
Parker asked Isiah about some of the criticism that Rockets superstar James Harden was absorbing after the game, since the league’s three-time reigning scoring champion was MIA on the game’s most pivotal possessions in the final minutes.
Check out the audio above as Zeke details to Rob and Chris why he thinks Harden is too ‘nice’ of a guy to take over games late and demand the basketball from his teammates, and instead waits for his head coach to give eventually give him the order to exclusively take over the offense.
Zeke says the same thing goes for Kawhi Leonard as well, saying both Kawhi and Harden will make special things happen in the final seconds ONLY when told by their coaches, and not on their own doing.