Reasonable people can disagree as to whether or not James Harden is right that this is the HoustonRockets’ year to win the NBA championship. One thing about which there can be no disagreement, though: in the first quarter of Wednesday’s matchup with the Los Angeles Clippers, Harden became the sole legal owner of Wesley Johnson’s ankles, as well as his immortal soul:
With a between-the-legs dribble, one dribble to his left, a hard plant, a push-the-pile shoulderblock and a vicious signature step-back, Harden transmogrified the bones, joints, tendons and cartilage connecting Johnson’s legs and feet into tapioca, banishing the Clipper forward to a dimension previously unknown to the rest of us here on this mortal coil. Then, as everyone processed what had just happened and Johnson struggled to find his way back to Earth Prime, Harden took two full beats, spun the ball in his left hand, and waited for Milos Teodosic to rush past his fallen comrade to try to defend in his stead.
Then, Harden popped a 3-pointer in the eyes of every Clipper, every Clipper fan, every Clipper fan’s friends, and everyone who’s ever associated in any professional or personal context with Wesley Johnson.
You can see Wes Johnson's soul escape from his body in real time
— Adam Jacobi (@Adam_Jacobi) March 1, 2018
James Harden crossed up Wes Johnson, logged on to his burner Twitter account to tell this guy why it wasn't a push-off or a travel with a screenshot of the NBA rulebook, then hit a 3.https://t.co/xHQqj4owKs
— Blake Murphy (@BlakeMurphyODC) March 1, 2018
nah man look at wesley johnson's face, man is internally screaming DOC SUB ME OUT and his whole basketball life is flashing before his eyes. pic.twitter.com/avXXptBdMp
— Ahmed/I can never be JOE BUDDEN TO MY BRADAS (@big_business_) March 1, 2018
“Someone call someone, because there’s just been a clean-up on Aisle 3,” said play-by-play man Craig Ackerman. Or, failing that, someone call an adult. Wes could’ve used one, because that other boy with the giant beard is being very, very mean. (Someone also better call some extra security down to the locker-room area at Staples Center. We’ve seen this movie before.)
Harden outscored the Clippers by himself, 17-12, in the first quarter. Beating up on a team playing the second game of a back-to-back, and submitting a Dunk of the Year nominee that isn’t even a dunk by turning Wesley Johnson into a meme, won’t necessarily win you MVP. But they sure as hell don’t hurt.
More Rockets coverage in the Yahoo Sports Minute:
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