Oklahoma City's James Harden takes part in a team practice session… (Don Emmert / AFP/Getty Images )
MIAMI -- Kendrick Perkins called Game 4 of the NBA Finals on Tuesday "a must win" for Oklahoma City after the Thunder fell behind, 2-1, in the best-of-seven series against the Miami Heat.
James Harden took it one step further.
"It’s a Game 7 for us," Harden said Monday. "We win this game tomorrow and tie it up, 2-2, and it’s the best of three with two games left in Oklahoma City. We’ll take that."
Harden would seemingly not be in a position to be picky after averaging a modest 11.7 points and making 11 of 27 (40.7%) shots in the first three games of the series, but the former Lakewood Artesia High standout said he was not displeased with his play.
Was Harden frustrated that he had not been able to score at his usual pace after averaging 16.8 points and shooting 49.1% in the regular season?
"No," Harden said. "I’m not just a scorer. I’m a playmaker, passing the ball, defending, getting steals, rebounding, everything. A stat-sheet filler."
Harden did collect six assists, six rebounds and two steals in addition to his nine points in Game 3.
"This series has been great, to be honest," Harden said. "First game, I didn’t score the ball well but I played a good defensive game. I played well these last two games. [Sunday] night was our best defensive game in this series and we’re just going to continue to get comfortable as this series goes on."
That was a word that Miami guard Dwyane Wade refused to utter even after the Heat won a second consecutive game in the series.
"I know this team," Wade said, "That word right now is not even in our vocabulary. I can't even spell that word right now. We don't want to think about it. I can't even say it."
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