Brooklyn Nets stat guard James Harden believes he is returning to his MVP level form. On Friday night, Harden dropped 39 points in a 120-112 win over the New Orleans Pelicans. Also, Harden dished out 12 assists. "I'm getting there," Harden said of him regaining his MVP form.
"It wasn't going to take long. I mean, this is the highest [level] in the sport is the NBA, the most talented players in this world. So it's not going to be easy for me to just come out there and do what I do. It takes a lot of hard work to be playing at a point to which you guys have seen me play at.
"When I'm not scoring 30 points, when I'm averaging 18-some points, it's like, 'What's wrong with James?' It's pretty solid still. I've been playing so well and so extremely at another level to where you guys set standards for me, and I set standards for myself as well.
For me, I just continue to work. I feel a lot better, and the work don't stop."
Harden, Kevin Durant dominated the Pelicans
Durant added 28 points and it was enough for the Nets to beat the Pelicans. When asked what opposing defenses could do when he and Durant are cooking, Harden joked.
"Ummm, pray?" Harden cracked. "I'm just playing [around]. I mean, it's difficult. We're two unselfish basketball players. We're versatile. Obviously, Kevin is known for his scoring, efficient scoring, but he's also a willing passer, especially when there's double teams and things like that.
It's difficult to guard him, and it's difficult to guard me, especially when we've got it going." Harden made a slow start to the season but he claimed that using most of the summer to recover from a hamstring issue affected his conditioning coming into the season.
"We've got to be patient with him," Nets coach"Steve Nash said when asked if Harden is back to full form. "It's still I think got some yards to go before he feels this way every night or feels at his best.
There's the fitness, there's the rhythm, and then there's the confidence. For all those three things to come back, it does take time. "He was great tonight. He's been really good the last week or so and trending in the right direction, but I don't want to get too carried away. Let's give him time to get his game back."