By now, most are aware of the similarities between the games of James Harden and Manu Ginobili, who play the role of sixth man for their respectively dominant teams. Both are crafty left-handed assassins that can cause havoc driving into the paint with one euro-step after another and knock down deadly three-pointers. They even flop the same way.
The mirror-images of each other dominated Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals, and while Ginobili had the better stat-line, it was Harden who had the last laugh with a couple of back-breaking 3-pointers against the San Antonio Spurs. The first one came with 5:17 left in the game, when he converted on a four-point play.
(via youtube user NBAClipz)
Then came the biggest dagger of them all. With his team clinging to a two-point lead with the shot clock running down, he hit a well-contested 3-pointer with 28.8 seconds remaining in the game.
(via youtube user 1jzo)
Harden finished the game with 20 points on six-of-11 shooting, four rebounds, three assists, two steals and no turnovers.
The bearded one has been the x-factor in the postseason for Oklahoma City and will surely continue that role as far as his team can go. He has also set himself up for quite a pay day come next season, and though the future isn’t clear, he just may warrant a max deal. At this point, who can argue that he isn’t worth the money?
For Jan Hubbard’s roundup, click here.
For Rajon Rondo’s call out of Heat and Doris Burke, click here.
James Park is a regular contributor and blogger for SheridanHoops.com. You can follow him on twitter @nbatupark.