TNT analyst Charles Barkley was impressed with James Harden’s Game 1 performance against the Minnesota Timberwolves , as the Houston Rockets superstar dropped a game-high 44 points, scoring 25 of them in the last 18 minutes of the game, preventing an early upset against a threatening defensive team.
Slithering through the defense, knocking back step-back jumpers, and making clutch plays down the stretch — The Beard was doing it all — or at least enough to catch the Hall of Famer’s eyes during the broadcast.
🏀 44 Points
👊 8 Assists pic.twitter.com/fqHg1Atk9S
— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) April 16, 2018
“Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, George “Iceman” Gervin, Kevin Durant and James Harden,” Barkley began. “Who is the best individual scorer out of those guys?”
His co-panelists Kenny Smith and Shaquille O’Neal quickly went with Bryant over Harden — “All day, every day,” O’Neal said of his former teammate.
Yet Barkley remained a prisoner of the moment after seeing Harden take over the game in spectacular fashion.
“I don’t know, man,” Barkley responded. “…James Harden, to me, might be the most unguardable player I’ve ever seen.”
Timberwolves head coach Tom Thibodeau gave The Beard his due after the game, knowing his team was going up against an MVP-caliber player, who is having his best season yet.
“There were several plays in which I thought we defended well and he made,” Thibodeau said. “James is that type of player. We’ve seen it all year. Very difficult to guard. Basically, you have to guard him with your whole team. It’s not just his scoring, but his playmaking. All the things that he does.”
For Barkley, Harden might be up there with some of the greats of the sport, and it’ll be hard to blame him if Harden continues to put up these kinds of performances throughout the playoffs.