The Disappearance of James Harden Plus NBA/MLB Notes
THE NBA PLAYOFF UPDATE: SO, WHAT DID HAPPEN TO HOUSTON'S JAMES HARDEN IN THAT GAME 6 BLOWOUT LOSS TO THE SAN ANT SPURS? ...
THE BASEBALL REPORT: SHOULD THE ROYALS REALLY BE THINKING ABOUT BREAKING UP THAT OLD GANG OF MINE?
If nothing else, it made for some great late-night talk show fodder on cable television as in ...What did happen in Game 6 to Houston Rockets' megastar James Harden?
No doubt the fact the Rockets were lambasted 114-75 by a banged-up San Antonio Spurs team (no Tony Parker, no Kawhi Leonard) was a major story in itself but Harden's mysterious disappearance in his club's elimination game had everyone scratching their heads and there was ESPN's Stephen A. Smith reporting that "five Hall of Famers" had texted him within minutes of the final buzzer to state their opinions that Harden had "quit" on Thursday night.
Harden didn't seem to have any axe to grind with head coach Mike D'Antoni who - if nothing else - informed the media throng that he thanked his team for their hard work and success in the 2016-17 season and so there wasn't any apparent issue between star player and coach and who knows why the lefthander didn't decide to even attempt a shot from the floor until past the midway point of the second quarter?
Afterwards, Harden played the victim that "everything falls on me" but he played without any spirit, any zest or - really - any interest in continuing his basketball season and until or unless Harden himself comes out with an answer we won't know for sure. But 2-of-11 FG shooting for 10 points with 6 turnovers is a stat line that Harden's gonna have to live with for a long, long time.
All we know is that the Rockets canned a mere nine two-point field goals throughout the blowout loss and didn't seem to give a damn about in-the-paint defense as San Antonio's LaMarcus Aldridge did as he pleased en route to a 34-point, 12-rebound game and let's not forget the contributions of fellow low-post guy Pau Gasol who chipped in with a very effective 10 points, 11 boards and 5 assists.
So close the book on the here-and-now Rockets who became - believe it or not - the 10th team in these NBA Playoffs to lose at home while facing elimination and note NBA home teams facing elimination this post-season now stand at 0-and-10. Really!
So let that be a warning tonight to the Washington Wizards, okay.
Okay, so here's a final game-by-game look at Spurs-Rockets with a reminder that we'll preview the NBA Western Conference Finals between San Antonio versus Golden State in tomorrow's edition of Jim Sez:
Note all home teams are in CAPS below:
|5-1||Houston||+ 6||SAN ANT||126-99|
|5-3||SAN ANT||- 5.5||Houston||121-96|
|5-5||San Antonio||+ 5.5||HOUSTON||103-92|
|5-7||HOUSTON||- 5||San Antonio||125-104|
|5-9||SAN ANT||- 5.5||Houston||110-107 (ot)|
|5-11||San Antonio||+ 8.5||HOUSTON||114-75|
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers have plenty more winners in the NBA Playoffs and in Major-League Baseball - get 'em online right here or call our exclusive toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453.
THE BASEBALL REPORT
Is it too early to declare it "do-or-die time" for a Major-League Baseball team?
We think not!
Just so happens we're thinking about the World Series champions of just two seasons ago and the team that's played in two of the last three Fall Classics ... your Kansas City Royals.
Folks, count us among the guys/gals that are shocked the management team in KayCee has let this thing slide out of control: Here we are heading into this Mother's Day Weekend and the Royals are 13-21 (a .382 winning percentage) - that's the worst record in the American League and consider this team still has everyday players named Lorenzo Cain, Salvador Perez, Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer and Alex Gordon along with pitchers Danny Duffy and Kelvin Herrera from the "old days".
Yet the Royals begin the weekend's three-game set at home against the Baltimore Orioles with the following ugly set of numbers:
They are 15th (that's last place) in the AL in total runs scored with 103; they are 13th in home runs with 31; and the Royals are 15th in team batting average with a sickly .217 mark.
At face value, you'd think a Royals team with the above-mentioned stars on the roster could indeed turn the beat around - heck, KC is only 5.5 games back of AL Central leader Minnesota - and yet all you hear is how this organization is gonna "break things up" and deal off the likes of Cain and Gordon and Herrera.
Kansas City may have to show something this weekend in the three-game set against the O's - keep in mind the New York Yankees invade Kaufman Stadium next week for a three-game series and then KC travels to Minnesota to face those division leaders - or you could soon start seeing the official dismantling of this team that should have enjoyed a bigger "window" of success.
The Royals' fan base waited 30 years before winning a second World Series crown back in '15 and we assumed this club would be in the running for more fall glory for at least another five years after that but instead the empire appears to be crumbling.
Prediction time: If the Royals get swept this weekend by Buck Showalter's gang, KC will start moving out "name players" as early as next week.
NOTE: More NBA Playoff coverage in the next Jim Sez plus get our MLB Notes too.
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