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NBA rule changes: James Harden ignores early struggles with dominant half against Pacers

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NBA rule changes: James Harden ignores early struggles with dominant half against Pacers

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The first five games of the 2021-22 season have been tough for James Harden, especially when it comes to his individual offensive production.

He averaged just 16.6 points, including a high of just 20 points, the biggest dip in his game being his ability to foul thanks to the new NBA refereeing rules.

In five games, he’s averaged a career low of free throw attempts per game of 3.0 and that’s after he averaged 10.2 in the previous nine seasons.

MORE: 2021 NBA Rules Changes, Explained

Some of his attempts to shoot a foul looked ugly at the start of the season as the referees cracked down on those calls. Check out this thread from Wednesday night’s Nets game against the Miami Heat.

Against the Indiana Pacers, Friday night, “the Beard” seemed to have found something with the whistle, especially in the first half.

He scored 21 points in the first half, already his season high, while passing 10 of 11 from the free throw line. The 11 free throw attempts are as many as he had recorded in the previous four games combined.

At the final buzzer, with the Nets winning 105-98, Harden finished with 29 points on 16 of 19 shots from the free throw line.

The 19 attempts, the most Harden has attempted as a Net, is four more than the number of free throw attempts in all previous games combined.

Did he really find something or was it just a flash in the pan? Only time will tell as the season progresses.


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