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Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton created a monster on February 2 when he told reporters 80 minutes before tip-off against the Golden State Warriors that LeBron James was going to sit out due to "load management." Walton believed that James needed the additional rest when he woke up "pretty sore" the morning after the Lakers’ overtime victory over the Clippers in his first game back after missing the previous 17 contests with a groin injury.
While "load management" made sense in the context of James' situation at the time, the reason has been often ridiculed, most recently by Kobe Bryant, who said, "the only time I took a game off is when I couldn’t walk."
On Friday, James Harden spoke with NBA TV after scoring 61 points—tying his career high—in the Rockets' 111-105 win over the San Antonio Spurs. Harden’s historic performance came two days after he netted nearly 46 minutes in Houston’s overtime loss to the Grizzlies.
With Harden running the risk of being overused prior to the playoffs, he would be a prime candidate for a player who would sit out an upcoming game over load management. The Beard, however, was vehemently against the idea.
“What is that? I'm a hooper. I love to hoop. I know hooping isn't gonna be here forever, so I love to get out there and compete. The best days are when your legs are a little tired and your shots isn't falling. Those are the best days because you gotta figure a way to get through it. I love to go out there and compete and hoop."
Harden took his dedication to hooping a step further when he posted a video of himself putting some work in at the gym after putting up 61.