Rockets analyst Calvin Murphy unintentionally told everyone how he really felt after Houston’s 114-107 loss to Indiana on Wednesday night.
The Hall of Famer offered some harsh criticism of Rockets star James Harden, who had 15 points (5-of-14 shooting), 12 assists and four rebounds against the Pacers. During the AT&T SportsNet Southwest postgame show, Murphy initially put on kid gloves, noting that Harden did make up for a poor scoring night with his playmaking.
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“James didn’t quite have his game together, but nevertheless, he did the right things getting everybody else involved,” Murphy said.
However, as the bumper music began to play, Murphy could be heard saying, “He quit.”
Uh … oops. Always assume the mic is hot, Calvin.
Harden is averaging 29.4 points through five games this season, so he finished well below his usual standards in that department. He was also quiet in the fourth quarter of a tight contest, scoring four points on three field goal attempts.
Stephen Silas: “We got stagnant in the 4th Quarter. And part of that was me trying to isolate or trying to get situations where we could control tempo and control who has the ball. We only came up with 20 points in the 4th Quarter.”
— Alykhan Bijani (@Rockets_Insider) January 7, 2021
It should be noted, though, that Harden sat out Saturday’s game against the Kings with a sprained ankle and hasn’t been as productive since that injury. He had 21 points on 5-of-17 shooting in a loss to the Mavericks on Monday but hit double-digit assists similar to his performance versus the Pacers.
Oh, and there’s the big, bearded elephant in the room: Harden’s trade request. The 31-year-old would prefer to play for a contender, but Houston is hesitant to move him unless it receives a massive package in return that includes a young franchise cornerstone and multiple draft picks. It doesn’t appear the situation will change anytime soon.
That element may have contributed to Murphy’s harsh analysis. Perhaps he can explain himself before the next commercial break.