The Houston Rockets might have the best record in the association entering the playoffs but for star guard James Harden that doesn’t mean a whole lot.
For the 28-year-old, who’s only made one NBA Finals (an OKC loss to Miami in 2012) and one Western Conference Finals (with Houston in 2015), his mindset is championship or bust.
“The ultimate goal is holding that trophy up,” Harden told Kristie Rieken of the Associated Press. “So until we do that there’s no celebrations … we haven’t done anything yet.”
At 64-16, the Rockets have been dominating opponents on a routine basis as Harden – the likely MVP – and Chris Paul have thrived under Mike D’Antoni’s fast-paced offense and surprisingly good defense. Besides eventually matching up against the Golden State Warriors, there’s little reason to believe the Rockets won’t make a deep playoff run. Harden knows that and doesn’t want to be complacent.
Harden’s experienced regular season success but doesn’t have the ring to cement his legacy. Until he gets one, he’ll be doing no celebrating.