"Keep shooting, keep being aggressive. 0-of-15, 14-of-15, 15-of-15, my job is to go out there and produce and be aggressive and in attack mode", Harden said.
The Utah Jazz hope to prevent a sweep and force a game five on Wednesday. You give yourself a very small margin.
It's hard to make a case for the Utah Jazz in this contest given how this series has played out. But even with those substandard numbers, Harden did more than enough to help his team survive.
And when the time came for Harden to knock down some shots, he answered the bell.
"They played him tough, there's no doubt about it", Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni said. This victory served as proof that Houston can find a way to win even when its superstar has a rough night. It also says a lot about Harden, who told ESPN in his on-court postgame interview that he had no idea he was 0 for 15 at one point. Harden finishes shooting 3-for-20 from the field but leads the Rockets with 22 points.
Remember when the Rockets missed 27 straight 3-pointers en route to finishing 7 for 44 from deep in last year's Game 7 loss to the Warriors?
Seated next to Harden at the podium, teammate Chris Paul cracked: "Gobert threw a couple of 'em, too". His early struggles marked a career-low up to that point.
Game 4 of the best-of-seven Western Conference series is Monday night in Utah.
"We didn't shoot the ball well and we still won". The plan nearly worked, as the Jazz gimmicked Harden into one of the worst shooting outings in postseason history. The under is 8-3 in Jazz last 11 home games. In fact, the Jazz led most of the game, but never by more than eight.
After two slow starts in Houston, the Jazz came out energized with a deafening crowd hanging on every basket.
The Rockets have made no secret they are keying on Mitchell and Ingles to take away their playmaking and make other Utah players beat them. He re-introduced himself to the series in an exuberant show of shot-making and open emotion after big plays. "I can't miss 16 shots (after the first quarter)".