Rockets practice report: James Harden talks load management

Following the Los Angeles Clippers decision to sit Kawhi Leonard on Wednesday for a prime time game against the Milwaukee Bucks, load management has been the number-one topic throughout the NBA. Following the fallout that resulted in a $50,000 fine for the Clippers, nearly every player and team has expressed their thoughts on load management, including the Houston Rockets.

Prior to the start of practice on Friday, the Rockets did not seem too fond of the idea of load management, especially from their All-Star guard, James Harden.

“I have no voice in that [load management], and I guess that contains to each individual person and what they work out with their medical staff. If I’m hurt, of course, I won’t play. Even if I’m a little banged up, I try to push through it to a certain extent. Have you ever seen me not play because of load management?”

Harden was not the only person who expressed his dislike for load management. Rockets’ head coach Mike D’Antoni says he understands the concept, but would rather see players play when healthy.

“I don’t like the term because I think it is a universal term people can use. Now, there are certain players you do have to manage due to age, injuries, or nine games in 12 days. Every training staff has to make that determination, but just to say ‘we’re doing load management’, I think people are just taking the wrong concept.”

Not because of load management, but Eric Gordon missed his first game of the season on Wednesday due to a sore left hamstring. D’Antoni says Gordon is good to go for Saturday’s game against the Chicago Bulls, but remains unsure who will start between him and Danuel House inside the United Center.

Gordon, who has gotten off to a slow start this season averaging 10.3 points while shooting 27.8% from the field, 23.3% on three-point attempts, says it’s all about getting into a rhythm to improve his production on the court.

“It’s all about everybody getting into a flow and I definitely need to shoot better. It’s all about picking my spots and finding where I am going to get the ball and knowing. Once I know that, I’m more comfortable. It’s a rhythm game to me.”

After defeating the Golden State Warriors on their home floor, the Rockets will embark on a quick two-game road trip, starting in Chicago on Saturday and will conclude in New Orleans on Monday. Tip-off is slated for 7:00 P.M. CT for both games.

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Coty M. Davis
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