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Skip Bayless Labels James Harden ‘Biggest Loser’ After Repeated Postseason Failures

Jay Mahesh Lokegaonkar

Skip Bayless Labels James Harden 'Biggest Loser' After Repeated Postseason Failures

When the Los Angeles Clippers acquired James Harden from the Philadelphia 76ers in October of 2023, he was touted to be the final piece in the franchise’s quest for that elusive NBA title. Pairing the veteran guard with Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, and Russell Westbrook was seemingly the winning formula. However, it all proved to be a failed experiment, as they fell at the first hurdle in the playoffs. James Harden’s poor showing especially stood out for many, including FS1 analyst Skip Bayless.

As the Clippers’ top brass dissected what went wrong for the team, Bayless had no qualms in declaring Harden as the main culprit for the team’s stunning blow-up. On the Skip Bayless Show, the veteran analyst did not mince words while slamming the 34-year-old’s performance against the Mavericks. He said,

“I’m going to tell you the tough truth about James Harden. He’s just a loser. He’s just the biggest loser. James Harden is a big-game, late-game ch0ke artist of the highest order. James Harden has the playoff basketball backbone of a jellyfish… as he demonstrated back in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020… He’s the last guy you want in your basketball foxhole.” 

Bayless continued his vicious takedown of Harden by listing some of his worst playoff performances. He started with the latter’s terrible performance for the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 5 of the 2015 Western Conference Finals, where he shot 2-of-11 from the field and committed 12 turnovers, the most by a player in a playoff game in NBA history.

Bayless then listed Harden’s disastrous 10-point performance for the Houston Rockets against the Kawhi Leonard-less San Antonio Spurs in Game 7 of the 2017 Western Conference semifinals. The superstar guard banked only two of his 11 shot attempts and committed six turnovers in the Rockets’ shocking 39-point loss.

Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The extensive list included Harden and the Rockets’ meltdown against the Warriors in the 2018 Western Conference Finals, the guard’s poor showing for the Brooklyn Nets against the Milwaukee Bucks in 2021, and his 4-of-26 shooting performance in Games 6 and 7 combined against the Boston Celtics last year.

Bayless came armed with facts, leaving no stone unturned in flaming the guard. While Harden wasn’t solely at fault for his teams’ losses in all the games the analyst listed, some of his performances are indeed indefensible. Regardless of how those games are dissected, the 2018 NBA MVP has little in his resume to disprove Bayless accusation that he is playoff ‘choke artist’ of the highest order.

James Harden’s lack of clutch gene

James Harden is one of the greatest scorers of this game’s history. He has 10 All-Star appearances, seven All-NBA selections, three scoring titles, and an MVP award to back that claim. However, his legacy has come to be defined by his penchant for disappearing in do-or-die games in the playoffs.

In 24 elimination games in his career, the veteran guard has averaged 22.5 points, 6.2 assists, and 5.4 rebounds on 41.7% shooting from the field and 31.5% from beyond the arc. His grossly underwhelming production explains his 9-15 record in those 24 outings. Harden’s reputation as a ‘choke artist’ was further cemented by his horrendous nine-point outing in the Philadelphia 76ers’ Game 7 loss to the Boston Celtics in the playoffs last year.

He had the chance to change the narrative this season, but instead, he delivered two terrible performances in Games 5 and 6 of the Clippers’ first-round series against the Mavericks. He scored seven and 16 points, respectively, in LA’s final two outings of the season and solidified his detractors’ claims about the absence of the ‘clutch gene’ in his body.

Post Edited By:Satagni Sikder

About the author

Jay Mahesh Lokegaonkar

Jay Mahesh Lokegaonkar


Jay Lokegaonkar is a basketball journalist who has been following the sports as a fan 2005. He has worked in a slew of roles covering the NBA, including writer, editor, content manager, social media manager, and head of content since 2018. However, his primary passion is writing about the NBA. Especially throwback stories about the league's iconic players and franchises. Revisiting incredible tales and bringing scarcely believable stories to readers are one his main interests as a writer.

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