Harden firing Rockets to new heights

Updated: 2016-10-10 07:32

By Sun Xiaochen in Shanghai(China Daily)

Harden firing Rockets to new heights

Houston Rockets' James Harden and New Orleans Pelicans in action in NBA Global Games in Shanghai, Oct 9, 2016. [Photo/IC]

"The man behind the beard" is on a mission.

Motivated and confident following his signing of a new four-year, $118.1 million contract extension with the Houston Rockets in July, star guard James Harden has answered critics who doubted his leadership credentials by guiding his revamped team through a successful preseason, both on and off the court.

As the team gathered at the tipoff circle upon the coach's call during the team's first practice in Shanghai on Saturday, Harden maintained his focus and rhythm in a warm-up shootout, firing 3-pointers off the catch in an uninterrupted flow.

"Seven more! Seven more!" Harden shouted to his teammates, even as his eyes remained locked on the basket.

The four-time NBA All-Star brought a focused intensity to the team's first training session on the NBA Global Games China tour as he sought to both recreate game day conditions and lead by example.

"The training camp and the preseason are extremely important for us as a team. There are going to be ups and downs in the season but we are going to figure out ways of pushing through," said Harden, who was dubbed by media as "the man behind the beard" due to his hirsute look.

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