Think Rockets fans are sick of the traveling circus known as James Harden? I can’t speak to their fans, but their broadcasters sure seem to be.
Longtime Rockets play-by-play voice Bill Worrell was on the call Thursday, announcing Houston’s preseason game with San Antonio for AT&T Sportsnet Southwest. Christian Wood, who was absent for the first three preseason games due to a nagging elbow injury, finally suited up Thursday night, joining Harden, Eric Gordon, P.J. Tucker and Danuel House Jr. in the starting lineup. The 6’10” forward dominated in his 24 minutes of action, compiling 27 points and 10 boards—both team highs—in a 128-106 Rockets victory.
Wood’s Houston debut offered plenty of highlight-reel moments but out of all of them, Worrell most delighted in the newcomer’s coast-to-coast layup early in the first quarter. Worrell couldn’t pass up the opportunity to zing Harden, facetiously asking, “Who needs James Harden?”
Between the damning ESPN profile that ran earlier this week, his awkward press conference Wednesday and the Twitter-sphere discovering his dad bod, it’s been a rough week in the life of James Edward Harden. I’m sure getting clowned by his own announcing team did little to ease the pain. If it’s any consolation, the embattled 31-year-old had a reasonably productive night, going for 20 points, nine assists and seven rebounds on 8-of-14 shooting (3-of-6 from long range), though he did commit a game-high five turnovers in his 27 minutes of court time.