James Harden had been struggling of late for the Thunder averaging only 13.0 points per game during a stretch of nine games that the Thunder only won four of.
Harden has really picked up his play in the last two games, scoring a career-high 40 points against Phoenix Wednesday night and then 20 points last night as the Thunder beat Sacramento 103-92.
Harden has been noticeably more aggressive in the last two games averaging 30.0 points, 3.0 assists, 6.5 rebounds and 3.5 steals per game. He’s shooting 62.1 percent from the field and made 7-of-14 threes and all 17 free throw attempts.
This is the Harden the Thunder need come playoff time. Granted, the Thunder haven’t played the strongest opponents the last two nights but it has been noticeable in general how much more Harden is looking to attack.
Russell Westbrook is still not himself averaging 21.3 points per game in the month of April while shooting 40.9 percent from the field.
The question is what would you rather have in the playoffs? Westbrook at his best or Harden?
The Thunder played their best basketball of the season with Westbrook at his best but I believe their ceiling is higher and chances for making a deep playoff run is greater with Harden at his best.
We know Kevin Durant is going to get his. It’s a matter of who gets to step up when Durant needs someone to.
Think of it like this, when Westbrook isn’t at his best he still can give hustle and defense and make athletic plays that are really valuable to the Thunder. When Harden is off, he can turn into more of just a spot-up shooter. The Thunder get more out of Westbrook when he’s off than they do from Harden.
The Thunder have three games left this regular season with the next one being in Los Angeles against the Lakers tomorrow at 3:30 p.m. EST. The game will be on ABC.