Programming note: Watch the pre-game edition of Warriors Outsiders on Friday afternoon at 4:30, broadcasting live on the MyTeams app.
With 10:47 left in the fourth quarter of Game 5 between the Warriors and the Rockets on Wednesday night, James Harden scored to reduce Houston's deficit to one.
At the 8:58 mark, a triple missed. Harden retired from the game at 8:15 and re-entered with 7:05 to go.
His next field goal attempt, a layup to pull the Rockets inside the three points, came with 18.6 seconds remaining.
In the almost 48 hours since Houston lost three games behind three games in this second round of the NBA playoffs, many people have wondered why Harden did not shoot more on the stretch.
Former Rockets forward and Hall of Famer Tracy McGrady had an interesting strategic suggestion for Harden to enter Game 6.
"I just see it, do not make the right basketball move," McGrady said on ESPN's show, The Jump. "Take control of the game, you've been doing it all season.
"Do not put us (your teammates) in precarious positions with which we feel uncomfortable now that the game is at stake.
"No. The game is in play, take control of the game."
So, if Harden is trapped, or is bombed or bent, he should try to dribble in traffic and shoot no matter what.
LeBron James used to be criticized for moving to open teammate instead of forcing jump shots played at the end of closed matches.
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Were there opportunities for Harden to be more aggressive in terms of chasing his own shot down the stretch? Yes. But the Warriors also forced the ball out of their hands frequently and forced other guys to hit them.
If Harden follows McGrady's advice, he could end up helping the Warriors in the end. Or, Harden could, you know, dominate and score 50 points.
We will see.
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