James Harden against Toronto in the 2022 NBA playoffs. Apr 18, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard James Harden (1) reacts after a score against the Toronto Raptors during the first quarter in game two of the first round for the 2022 NBA playoffs at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

How bad did James Harden play in Friday night’s Game 3 loss to the Boston Celtics?

So bad that ESPN announcers Mark Jones and Doris Burke, usually known for their even-handed, non-abrasive commentary, absolutely roasted the Philadelphia 76ers star after a series of poor shots and/or decisions

Midway through the third quarter, Harden passed up an easy layup and instead threw a weak pass that thankfully was deflected out of bounds and not picked off.

“Wow,” Burke said. “He is completely indecisive.”

“That to me looked like a lack of confidence,” Jones countered.

“Total and complete indecision,” Burke said.

What Harden had probably decided, in fact, is that he was not having a good night, with only one basket in the game to that point.

Harden finished with 16 points, half of those coming in the final few minutes when the Celtics had a comfortable lead. He hit 3-of-14 shots, and had five turnovers.

One day, Harden will be inducted into the Hall of Fame. These are not the video clips they’ll show during his induction.

The Celtics’ 114-102 victory over the 76ers gives them a 2-1 lead in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, with Game 4 Sunday night in Philadelphia.

Really, this was peak Harden. When he’s on, which is frequently, he’s a force of nature. When he’s off … things get ugly. This makes two games in a row “Bad Harden” has surfaced. He hit 2-of-14 shots in a Game 2 loss. Of course, he exploded for 45 points in Game 1. 76ers fans are still learning to take the bad with the good.

Fans on social media had no mercy for Harden after the loss.

About Arthur Weinstein

Arthur spends his free time traveling around the U.S. to sporting events, state and national parks, and in search of great restaurants off the beaten path.