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News » Harden knows how to draw the line

Harden knows how to draw the line

Harden knows how to draw the line In case Thunder fans haven't realized it by now, James Harden is more than a perimeter shooter.

Harden scored a career-high 26 points in the Thunder's 104-88 win over Golden State Warriors on Monday night at the Ford Center.

Half his points came at the line.

Before last year's NBA Draft, Harden was best known as a left-handed sharpshooter. What was rarely mentioned is he got to the line as frequently as any player in Arizona State history other than Ike Diogu.

"In college, I wasn't a spot-up guy at all," Harden said. "I'm just getting used to this great league, picking my spots, learning how to create shots for me and my teammates."

Harden was 13-of-14 at the line, grabbed nine rebounds and dished out five assists. He didn't have a turnover on a night the Thunder had 19.

"They gave us some matchups where James has the ability to get around his guys," said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. "One thing we love about James is he can make plays for himself and others. He has a nice mix."

A quarter of the way into his rookie season, in 21 minutes a game, Harden is averaging 9.7 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.1 steals.

"James is a big guard who uses his size, as you saw tonight, to get to the line," said teammate Jeff Green. "And he also has the ability to shoot. He has a good all-around game. He's old school. There's nothing spectacular about it, but he gets it done."

Harden improved his free throw shooting percentage to 83.3 percent, which can be invaluable in late-game situations.

"He was just being aggressive," said Kevin Durant. "One thing I always tell him is sometimes he's a little too passive when he has opportunities to drive or score. He's getting more comfortable."

Harden threw down another emphatic dunk, but his highlight play occurred late in the third quarter. After almost turning the ball over, Harden used some fancy hand-work between his legs, avoided a jump ball, straightened up and drained a 17-footer.

"I've been practicing that," Harden said, smiling. "It was luck. We were both fighting for the ball. When I picked it up, I looked at the shot clock and there was only three seconds, so I just shot it."

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Author: Fox Sports
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Added: December 11, 2009


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