Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman reports:
No one needed to say anything to James Harden.
When Jeff Green was dealt to Boston three weeks ago in the trade that brought Kendrick Perkins to the Thunder, Harden knew immediately that he needed to be more productive.
“We had to make up for those 15 points that we lost,” Harden said. “Everybody’s level of play had to step up.”
Harden, though, shot up to a level few thought he could reach — at least not this quickly.
In 15 games since the All-Star break, Harden has averaged 17.7 points. That total trails only Dallas’ Jason Terry for points off the bench over that span. Harden’s 50.6 percent shooting over that same span, meanwhile, ranks fifth among shooting guards with at least 10 games played.
By comparison, Harden averaged just 10.3 points on 41.3 percent shooting prior to the All-Star break. The turnaround has transformed the second-year guard into one of the league’s best Sixth Men.