Cover Image for Kendrick Perkins blames $165 million James Harden for loss to LeBron James and the Heat in 2012 NBA Finals

Kendrick Perkins blames $165 million James Harden for loss to LeBron James and the Heat in 2012 NBA Finals

Samir Mehdi
|Mon Aug 15 2022

Kendrick Perkins blatantly claims the $165 million worth James Harden was the sole reason behind their loss to the Miami Heat in 2012. 

LeBron James 0-2 in the NBA Finals when James Harden and the Oklahoma City Thunder ran into his Miami Heat in the 2012 Finals. After suffering a disappointing loss to the Dallas Mavericks in the previous year’s Finals while averaging an abysmal 17.8 points a game, ’The King’ was out for blood going into the coming season. 

The OKC Thunder on the other hand, were a group put together by the genius of Sam Presti and were led by superstars in their early 20s like Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and future 6MOTY, James Harden. 

Harden perfected his role as the first man off the bench for the Thunder, establishing himself as the 3rd best scoring option for the Thunder and providing a Lou William-esque scoring boost when things got bogged down in the half-court. Of course, he has since emerged as a superstar, NBA75th anniversary player and accumulated a net worth of $165 million. 

However, during that 2012 season, ‘The Beard’ had many expectations riding on his shoulders despite being in Russ and KD’s shadow.

Also read: 6’5” James Harden crossed this $90 million guard so bad that he ended up writing an apology letter to his fans

Kendrick Perkins on James Harden in the 2012 NBA Finals. 

Many forget just how valuable a late 2000s, early 2010s Kendrick Perkins was as a role player. His injury in the 2010 NBA Finals led many to believe was the reason why Kobe Bryant repeated as an NBA champion. After his stint with the Celts, he found his way onto the Thunder, playing down low alongside Serge Ibaka. 

When the relatively inexperienced Thunder got to the Finals, they actually managed to pull off a victory in Game 1. However, the following 4 games resulted in four straight Miami Heat victories. Despite it being their first NBA Finals, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant balled out. James Harden? Not so much. Below are the averages for their big 3 in those 5 games 

  • Kevin Durant: 30.6 points and 6 rebounds on 54.8% shooting 
  • Russell Westbrook: 27 points, 6.6 assists, and 6.4 rebounds on 43.3% shooting 
  • James Harden: 12.4 points and 3.4 assists on 37.5% shooting 

Kendrick Perkins went on ‘Forgotten Seasons’ and talked about how getting down to Miami saw James flustered, leading to games like 5 points in Game 1, 8 points in Game 4, and 9 points on 20% shooting in Game 3.

Also read: James Harden reportedly robbed Rockets legend’s son of $15,000 and got sued for it

About the author
Samir Mehdi

Samir Mehdi

Covering everything from Wilt Chamberlain's offensive goaltending games in 1962 to Ja Morant's points in the paint absurdity in 2022.

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