NBA

Harden feeling 'close to himself' after clutch shot helps Clippers to victory

By Sports Desk November 18, 2023

James Harden says he is feeling "close to myself" after hitting a clutch three to help the Los Angeles Clippers to victory on Friday.

His best game yet as a Clipper saw him record 24 points, nine rebounds and seven assists as his new team took a 106-100 win over the Houston Rockets, who Harden played for between 2012 and 2021.

Harden had previously struggled to make an impact in Los Angeles, losing all five games he had played for the Clippers before Friday's win, in which the 34-year-old made eight of his 11 shots, including the vital three at the end.

Harden believes he is getting back to his former self, saying: "I'm getting real close.

"I'm getting close to myself. Every game I feel like I'm improving."

Russell Westbrook played just 17 minutes in the victory, his fewest since joining the Clippers prior to the All-Star break last season, with head coach Tyronn Lue revealing after the game that Westbrook had requested to come off the bench as the sixth man to help the team end their losing run.

"He wanted to do that, which [is] an ultimate sacrifice for a guy of his caliber," Lue told reporters. "For things he's done in this league, the things he's done for this team.

"So shout out to Russ for wanting to do that. It's a huge part of what we've talked about, just sacrificing wanting to win at a high level."

Paul George also appreciated Westbrook's sacrifice, explaining: "It's tough with his energy and obviously there's a ton of chemistry there.

"We've always played well off one another, but it just takes a lot for his sacrifice and what he did for us going forward to try new things out. [I] can't say enough on the character of Russ and his leadership."

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