Even though Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving were the Brooklyn Nets' go-to-guys, it was James Harden the one who led them during their best stretch of the season.
Harden gave up some shots but was still posting very impressive numbers. He embraced a different role and was setting his teammates up and running the point for most of the time, rather than being aggressive and driving constantly.
Now, his scoring numbers have taken a bit of a dip since coming back from a hamstring injury. Then again, he doesn't seem worried about that at all, and said that all he cares about is winning basketball games:
"I thought winning was all that matters. When I was doing the stats and filling up the numbers it wasn't good enough... It's all about winning. Today in practice I had zero points and we won," Harden said, according to Malika Andrews of ESPN.
That's definitely the kind of mindset you want from a superstar, especially one that has been used to put up huge numbers but struggled to win when it matters the most.
Harden has looked like a way more mature player since leaving Houston and joining the Nets. He understands his new role and knows that he doesn't have to score 45 points per game for his team to win.
Even though his trade from the Rockets and the way he dealt with that situation raised a lot of criticism and controversy, we have to give him his flowers for the way he's played and how he's reacted to all the criticism.
Rather than getting involved in all that talk, Harden is letting his play do the talking for him. He was a legit MVP candidate before sitting out with injury, so we're looking forward to watching him in the playoffs.