History shows James Harden doesn't show up in big playoff games

Houston Rockets v San Antonio Spurs - Game Five

After putting up a promising 55-27 record during the regular season, the Houston Rockets' 2017 postseason run came to an unceremonious end on Thursday night at the hands of the San Antonio Spurs.

In the 114-75 loss at home, a lot of fingers were pointed at star point guard James Harden, who only managed a season-low 10 points and turned the ball over seven times as his team was eliminated from the playoffs.

None of the Rockets had particularly good games, but as a legitimate MVP candidate during the regular season, more was expected of Harden.

However, throughout his NBA career, Harden has struggled when the spotlight is shining the brightest on him. From his days with the Oklahoma City Thunder to the last few years with the Rockets, the talented guard has been a no-show for some of the biggest games he's been in.

Here's a brief look back at some other times when Harden has failed to live up to expectations.

San Antonio Spurs v Houston Rockets - Game Six

2016 Western Conference Quarterfinals vs. Golden State

With the Warriors coming off a record 73-9 season and the Rockets stumbling into the playoffs at 41-41, Harden's squad wasn't expected to win the first-round series.

In fact, it was somewhat impressive that Houston even managed to push the series to five games, winning Game 3 at home by one point.

However, in Game 4, with Houston trying hard to even the series at home, Harden only put up 18 points and had four turnovers. Granted, he finished with 10 assists and seven rebounds in his near-triple-double effort, but that's not what the Rockets needed from their superstar.

He shot only 4-for-13 from the field and made only two of his eight three-point attempts as the Warriors took a 3-1 series lead before closing things out in Game 5 in Oakland.

Houston Rockets v Golden State Warriors - Game Five

2015 Western Conference Finals vs. Golden State

Though the Warriors would eventually go on to beat LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2015 NBA Finals, there's an argument to be made that they shouldn't have had such an easy time getting past the Rockets.

However, with the Rockets trailing 3-1 in the best-of-seven series, Harden had undoubtedly his worst-ever playoff performance, tallying only 14 points while committing a whopping 12 turnovers in Houston's lopsided 104-90 loss.

Harden made only two of his 11 shots that night and was 0-for-3 from three-point range as the Rockets once again made an unceremonious playoff exit.

Oklahoma City Thunder v Miami Heat - Game Five

2012 NBA Finals vs. Miami Heat

By the 2012 Finals, Harden had come into his own and the Thunder had a legitimate Big 3 of him, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook to do battle with Miami's Big 3 of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

However, the series didn't exactly turn out that way, as the Heat cruised to a 4-1 best-of-seven victory as Harden floundered in Games 3 and 4 in Miami.

In Game 3, the budding superstar scored only eight points and followed that up with a meager nine-point effort in Game 4 - both games that OKC lost.

Harden bounced back with 19 points in Game 5, but it was too little, too late as LeBron and the Heat won 121-106 and got to lift the NBA Finals trophy in front of their hometown fans.

Following that tough playoff defeat, Harden left OKC to join the Rockets, where he truly emerged as one of the game's best players.

Now, to cement his legacy, he'll need to start putting together his best games when his team needs him the most.

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