Rockets can't rely on Harden being superhuman, warns D'Antoni
The Houston Rockets cannot rely on James Harden being "superhuman every night", said Mike D'Antoni after the reigning MVP tied an NBA record for the most missed three-pointers in a game.
Although Harden tied Kobe Bryant for the most successive 30-point matches (16) by scoring 38 in a 116-109 loss to the Orlando Magic, he shot just one-for-17 from beyond the arc to match Damon Stoudamire's unwanted mark.
Rockets head coach D'Antoni was disappointed by Houston's defensive display and called on other players to step up when the six-time All-Star is having a difficult time.
"The problem is you can't rely on [Harden] to be superhuman every night. We have to have some contribution from other guys," said D'Antoni.
"I thought they came in with a lack of focus, especially on the defensive end and it carried over on the offensive end. We didn't play well.
"I just thought the whole game we didn't have the right focus for a team that plays well. Steve Clifford has them [Orlando] playing really well.
"We got 10 points, 10 points, 10 points up and let them hang around and we didn't have the right amount of focus and you get beat. Hopefully we'll learn from it."
The @OrlandoMagic close the game on a 20-6 run and defeat HOU behind 22 PTS, 9 REB, 6 AST from Nikola Vucevic! #PureMagic 116 #Rockets 109— NBA (@NBA) January 14, 2019
Aaron Gordon: 22 PTS, 8 REB
Evan Fournier: 19 PTS, 5 REB
Harden: 38 PTS, 12 AST 9 REB pic.twitter.com/z3wAEUon1W
Harden was keen not to dwell on his shooting struggles, insisting that defense was the greater issue for the Rockets.
He said: "[The threes] just didn't go in. It's not even about offense though, defensively we weren't locked in enough and we gave up 70 points or something [actually 64] in the second half. We scored enough points to win.
"We didn't have our [defensive] focus level like the last few weeks.
"We don't have the margin of error. We've got to come in locked in from the beginning of the game for all four quarters. You give a team like this some confidence and open shots, and they made them. It's pretty simple."