James Harden was immediately blasted by fans, analysts and former players following the Houston Rockets’ elimination from the NBA Playoffs on Thursday night.
Harden had one of the worst performances of his career, leading to accusations that he quit and simply gave up.
Then, there’s ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith who always has a blistering hot take.
Smith was discussing Harden’s effort when he said there needs to be an investigation into what happened because Harden “looked drug.” Smith added Harden was “literally comatose” and that someone could have dropped something in Harden’s drink to cause his no-show.
“I think there needs to be an investigation to be quite honest with you. He looked like he was drugged out there for crying out loud. Literally comatose. I don’t know who the hell that was playing for the Houston Rockets, but it wasn’t the James Harden that I’ve been watching all year,” Smith said.
“That dude did not show up for the Houston Rockets tonight. He looked absolutely awful, abysmal, just literally comatose. He didn’t show up.”
For what it’s worth, Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni said Harden had been battling a cold.
That didn’t stop from people from going as far as suggesting Harden should be looked into for potentially point-shaving. Those are some very strong allegations.
But you have to give credit to Harden, who accepted blame for the loss and said it all fell on his shoulders.
Whatever went on Thursday night, this is not the way Harden wanted to end what has otherwise been an MVP caliber year.