Clippers’ Tyronne Lue Praises Play Of James Harden

Tyronn Lue, James Harden, Los Angeles Clippers, NBA
NBA Analysis Network

The Los Angeles Clippers picked up an impressive win over the Dallas Mavericks to start their first-round series in the 2024 NBA Playoffs. Los Angeles jumped them early and never looked back.

The Clippers led by as many as 29 points in the game and never trailed. It was an impressive performance by them, as they were without Kawhi Leonard in the game. But, the rest of the team stepped up and got them off to a 1-0 head start.

Leading the way for Los Angeles was James Harden. Knowing that someone had to pick up the offensive production alongside Paul George, Harden answered the call. He scored 20 of his 28 points in the first half, helping stake the Clippers to a huge early lead.

He also handed out eight assists, as he showcased he still has what it takes to be the focal point of an offense. His performance was one that drew praise from head coach Tyronn Lue as well after the game.

“A huge element,” Lue called Harden’s scoring for the team. “When he’s scoring the basketball and making the right play, it’s huge. He understands that he doesn’t have to do a lot of heavy lifting with Kawhi and PG both on the floor. But if one of those guys are out, he has to step up and be aggressive to score the basketball. That is what he has been doing for us of late. I thought he really set the tone early.”

When Harden was acquired earlier in the 2023-24 NBA season from the Philadelphia 76ers, he made it a point to be the team’s lead facilitator. He wasn’t always aggressive looking for his shot, wanting to get his teammates involved and into a rhythm.

But, as Lue noted, with Leonard sidelined, they needed a more aggressive Harden and they got that on Sunday afternoon. According to ESPN’s Stats and Information, Harden counted for 49 of the team’s points with his scoring and assisting.

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: James Harden, Tyronn Lue, 2024 NBA Playoffs, Los Angeles Clippers Updates

The team also received a dominant performance from Ivica Zubac, who scored 20 points with 17 rebounds as he overwhelmed the Mavericks on the interior. Paul George scored 22 as they cruised to a 109-97 win.

According to Lue, Leonard is expected back at some point in the first round of the NBA Playoffs. But, with his status for Game 2 still up in the air, the Clippers could need another performance like Sunday afternoon’s from Harden.

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