The Houston Rockets defeated the Golden State Warriors in 135-134 in overtime last night. Reigning NBA MVP James Harden had a fairly lackluster shooting night by his standards, but he took over down the stretch to help the Rockets erase a 20-point second half deficit.
Although he ended up with 44 points, 15 assists, and 10 rebounds (to go with a steal and two blocks), everyone is talking about the shot he made to end the game, which was just ridiculous.
Harden, who is left handed, is boxed off to his left by both a screening P.J. Tucker and Klay Thompson, who gets a hand in his face. This means, with less than 4 seconds on the game clock, that he can only go right and forward. This allows Draymond Green, who is one of the best defenders in the league, to easily seal off Harden several feet behind the three point line AND alter his shot with a hand in his face.
And Harden still nails it.
The modern NBA shooter is virtually indefensible. They are in shooting range about five steps past half court. ESPN had an interesting article recently that is well worth the read about how NBA teams are actually encouraging players to develop a 35-foot effective shooting range (current NBA 3-point line is between 22 and 23.75 feet from the basket). We may be nearing the time when the 4-point line becomes an actual thing.