Report: James Harden, Chris Paul Had Verbal Altercation After Rockets' Season-Ending Loss

Emily Caron
Sports Illustrated

Tensions between Chris Paul and James Harden escalated into a verbal argument in the locker room last week following the Rocketsseason-ending Game 6 second-round playoff loss to the Warriors, according to The Athletic's Shams Charania.

As reported by the publication, the two engaged in a "verbal back-and-forth" over ball distribution after the game. The dispute continued into the locker room until they were separated. The verbal exchange was reportedly a continuation of tensions that started on the floor.

Harden dropped 35 points in the loss to Paul's 27. Paul averaged 15.6 points, 4.6 rebounds and 8.2 assists this season while Harden led the team with 36.1 points, 6.6 boards and 7.5 assists.

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Paul was reportedly pushing coach Mike D'Antoni for more ball movement in Houston's offense. Harden, on the other hand, thrives in isolation.

Charania added that finding a balance between movement, energy and isolation has been a season-long struggle for the Rockets. The system, which has led Houston to two consecutive 50+ win seasons, has also resulted in two straight playoff losses to the Warriors.

Given that Houston stopped exit interviews this year, neither Paul nor Harden have been asked about or publicly commented about the fight.

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