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After some losses, Harden sits at his locker looking at the box score, sometimes in a daze trying to come up with the answers to reporters’ questions about what went wrong. Harden says if he had the answers he would provide it. Last Saturday, the Rockets lost at home by 17 to Portland. “Those are games we’re supposed to win,” he said. “Last year we won (those games) and that’s the difference between the seventh and eighth seed and second, third and fourth seed. We still got our opportunities to take advantage of them but you got to do them.”
However, despite all of Harden’s efforts, the Rockets remain near the bottom of the playoff seedings and haven’t shown an ability to move up. Consequently, deserved or not, Harden and Dwight Howard have received most of the blame for the struggles of a team many thought would be elite. “I think all of us have been frustrated with how the season has gone,” Howard said. “Not just James, all of us are frustrated. We could be better.”
McHale was then asked about the recent wave of coach firings – Brooklyn’s Lionel Hollins, Cleveland’s David Blatt, Phoenix’s Jeff Hornacek and New York’s Derek Fisher have all been sacked in the past month. “If your name’s not Gregg Popovich – rent, don’t buy,” said McHale, referring to the longtime Spurs coach. “There are so many players with so much pull inside the league … It’s just rough right now in the coaching profession.”