Ever since he moved to the Houston Rockets, James Harden has had some rough outings against the Spurs. As the top scorer and most prolific foul-drawer in the league, it’s always nerve wracking to see him going for the game-winning or tying shot in a tight game. It has been ingrained into the minds of opposing teams and fans that if he misses, he’ll likely draw a foul. However, the Spurs always seem ready.
@Dylangonzalez21 put a nice little highlight reel together on Twitter of at least four different occasions the Spurs have blocked Harden on clutch shots:
Good morning— Dylan (@Dylangonzalez21) December 4, 2019
James harden gets blocked on game winning/tying shots a lot against the spurs lmao pic.twitter.com/Md4ijOqGvR
Jakob Poeltl, Kawhi Leonard, Manu Ginobili, Tim Duncan . . . that’s a long list of Spurs to fall victim to (although in fairness, it’s quite a defensive line-up). But getting blocked in the clutch isn’t the only issue Harden has had against the Spurs.
He was also correctly called for a charge on DeMar DeRozan on their final offensive possession in the second OT on Tuesday, basically ending the game, and in 2017 he had an inexcusably bad performance (10 points, 2-11 FGA, 6 turnovers) in Game 6 against the Spurs (an elimination game and the one right after Manu’s block) when they were missing Leonard and Tony Parker due to injury.
And of course, there always be the one that really wasn’t his fault but still falls in line with his bad luck against the Silver and Black: The Dunkn’t, as Pounders have decided to name it. (Although it may or may not come back to haunt the Spurs considering the Rockets are protesting the outcome of the game over this play.)
This is the craziest "missed" dunk I've ever seen. Crazy, because James Harden didn't miss it. Refs missed the call. Rockets lost in OT. pic.twitter.com/uNkD5ez32Z— Michael Lee (@MrMichaelLee) December 4, 2019
It would be inaccurate to say Harden has trouble beating the Spurs in general — the Rockets often gives them fits in Houston — but it’s not inaccurate to say he has trouble against them when the game gets tight.