The Houston Rockets fired Kevin McHale yesterday and promptly went and won their first game in five.
James Harden, as you might expect, had a big hand in their overtime victory over the Portland Trail Blazers - the perennial All-Star breaking loose for 45 points.
Focus of frustration
By the sounds of it, though, Harden had to do something to get in his teammate's good books. That's after a USA Today report noted that the bearded star was one of the main targets for criticism during the Rockets' now infamous player-only meeting.
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As reported by Sam Amick and Jeff Zillgitt, relaying comments from at least three anonymous sources within the Houston franchise, one of the big points to come out of the meeting was how Harden had begun to rub his teammates up the wrong way.
"While players tried to keep details of the meeting private, two themes emerged...Harden’s play and aloofness have frustrated teammates, and McHale took the brunt of the blame for the team’s play."
Harden's defensive play so far this season has (as ever) left a lot to be desired, but it his sub-par offensive play that will have added to the frustration of teammates.
As for his aloofness, there have been previous reports citing Harden and Dwight Howard's tendency to separate themselves from the rest of the roster. When times get tough - like they have this season - that's unlikely to win you many friends.
Harden, of course, was present at the player-only meeting held after practice on Tuesday so it's not like the rest of the Houston roster went behind his back on this one.
And, hopefully for Rockets fans, their harsh words have breathed new life into the former Thunder star.
Putting up 45 points last night, including all nine of the team's points in overtime, will go a long way to regaining his reputation.
Rockets fans: Should Harden shoulder some of the blame after McHale's firing? Have your say in the comments below...News Now - Sport News