It’s for that reason that I’ve always thought he was overrated, going back to when he was at ASU. He has a history of not putting in a good performance when he absolutely needs to the most. If you look at his days on the Thunder, he almost never had an above average game in the playoffs when the team really depended on him. Just if they were getting blown out or if KD &/or Westbrook were also having an above average game. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen him have a great game in a true do or die situation, when it came down to only him.
He is incredibly talented & should be commended for having a fantastic regular season but this was exactly what I was expecting from him in the postseason. If the Rockets had managed to beat the Spurs, he would have done this exact same thing against the Warriors. It’s in his DNA, it’s the same reason I knew he wouldn’t win a championship with Dwight Howard, they’re the same in a lot of ways (although obviously Howard is well past his prime while Harden seems to be in the middle of his). Neither of them seems to have that killer instinct, or that fire in them that causes them to go all out, no matter what, especially with the highest stakes.
As far as his status as a superstar, I don’t think this does anything to it. I also don’t think it affects his credentials as an MVP, a regular season award. He is exactly who I already knew he was before the playoffs started. I think it’s totally inexcusable that he didn’t attempt a shot until they were down by 20, & the fact that his team lost by 39 points to the Spurs WITHOUT KAWHI OR PARKER is a dark mark on his resume that is going to be difficult to forget. Before the series started, I said Spurs in 6, I just didn’t know that would include multiple games without Parker & a game (plus some of game 5) without Kawhi.
Last year the Rockets were rated too highly & drastically underachieved, this year they were rated lower (because of last year) & overachieved. It will be interesting to see what the expectation from this team is moving forward.