Los Angeles Lakers superstar forward LeBron James was impressed by Houston Rockets guard James Harden following Game 4 of their Western Conference semifinals series, calling the Houston guard as one of the "best offensive players we have ever seen" in the NBA.
Harden, who has been one of the most prolific scorers in the NBA over the past decade, shot just 2-of-11 from the field in Game 4 but he managed to get to the free throw lines 20 times and James was impressed by that. Harden knocked down 16-of-20 of his free throw attempts -- finished the game with 21 points -- but it wasn't enough as the Lakers beat the Rockets 110-100 to take a 3-1 lead in the series.
"James is probably one of the best offensive players that we've ever seen in this league," the Lakers superstar said of Harden, per ESPN. "I mean, he had 20 free throw attempts and we're trying to not put him to the free throw line.
One of our game plans is to not put him to the free throw line and we're trying to not put him to the free throw line, and the guy is just so clever that he was still able to get 20 free throw attempts."
James knows how dangerous Harden can be
Harden scored 36 points in Game 1 against the Lakers and the Rockets won the game by 15 points.
"So we're just trying to eliminate anything that we can from him, because he can score from [anywhere]. He gets into the paint with his runners, with his floaters. Obviously, he's got the step-back. He's got the 3s in transition.
He has his catch-and-shoot 3s when he's off the ball. And like I said, he's very tricky with his moves in the paint, where he gets to the free throw line. So we're just trying to take away some things. We can't take away everything, because that's how great he is offensively.
We try to follow the game plan and see what happens from there," James added. Meanwhile, Anthony Davis, who scored a game-high 29 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, wasn't particularly impressed with his defensive effort in Game 4.
"I feel I was a step slow on defensive rotations tonight. I feel I can be better defensively," Davis claimed. "Kind of got knocked off my rhythm early [in Game 4]. But for me to just keep going, I go in and try to get offensive rebounds, screen for my teammates, do all the intangibles and make sure I can affect the game in other ways besides just scoring the basketball."