James Harden had no idea he had started the game so badly as he reflected on the Houston Rockets' hard-fought win over the Utah Jazz in the NBA playoffs.
The Rockets prevailed 104-101 on Saturday to move 3-0 up in the best-of-seven series, the Western Conference's fourth seeds looking a safe bet to advance to the semi-finals, where a potential meeting with two-time defending champions the Golden State Warriors awaits.
Reigning league MVP Harden has enjoyed another remarkable scoring season but he went 0-for-15 in this game before belatedly finding his range, finishing with 22 points, 10 assists and four rebounds.
When informed by ESPN of his early shooting struggles, Harden replied: "Oh, for real? I didn't know that!
"I was aggressive, they were doing a good job of contesting my shots, those are shots I shoot every single day, fourth quarter they fell in, I'll keep shooting the same shots.
"[This win shows] Character. We fought, we didn't shoot the ball well, we gave up a lot of easy buckets for them, we kept fighting, no matter how bad we played for three quarters we were only down two points, we knew we had one good quarter in us and we did."
The @HoustonRockets outlast UTA on the road to go up 3-0 in the series!#RunAsOne 104#TakeNote 101— NBA (@NBA) April 21, 2019
Chris Paul: 18 PTS, 4 AST
James Harden: 22 PTS, 10 AST, 6 STL
PJ Tucker: 12 PTS, 10 REB
Clint Capela: 11 PTS, 14 REB pic.twitter.com/Iv3MC2KWyv
Chris Paul, meanwhile, was similarly unaware of his team-mate's early numbers, insisting that is not the way head coach Mike D'Antoni encourages the Rockets to think.
"I went up to him in that time-out and said 'get your swag up'," Paul said.
"He knows how we play, we don't play percentages, we don't look at how many shots you missed or made, we put the work in, that's what you work all summer for, we believe in him and we keep playing and stay the course.
"We're trying to stay the course, I had no clue James shot that, but we just keep playing.
"Who knows that? Coach puts utmost confidence in the guys to keep shooting because at the end of the day it's win the game, no matter what he shot we won the game."
23 de mayo 2019
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22 de mayo 2019
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|Leclerc keen to end drought at ´special´ Monaco GP|
|Wawrinka and Fucsovics upset in Geneva|
|Viviani concludes disappointing 2019 Giro bid|
|FIFA abandons plans for 48-team World Cup in Qatar|
|AFC Champions League Review: Guangzhou Evergrande squeeze through, Kashima Antlers´ title defence co|
|Sabalenka through on busy day in Strasbourg|
|Hamilton excused from media duties after Lauda´s death|
|Arsenal did not offer Ramsey new deal due to ´salary balance´ concerns|
|Hales hopes England door not closed, targets T20 World Cup|
|Ter Stegen out of Copa del Rey final|
|Ewan victory sees Demare nudge into Giro points lead|
|Khawaja sent for scans after blow to head|
|Diego Costa a doubt for start of Atletico´s pre-season with ligament sprain|
|Caballero commits to Chelsea for 2019-20|
|F1 Raceweek: Ricciardo or Red Bull to halt Mercedes? - Monaco GP in numbers|
|Deco: Valverde will be feeling heat at Barcelona after Liverpool loss|
|Caparros to be replaced as Sevilla coach but remain at the club|
|England have no margin for error at World Cup, warns Stokes|
|An iconic character - Villeneuve & Prince Albert remember Niki Lauda|
|Borussia Dortmund sign Leverkusen star Brandt|
|Rudi Garcia to leave Marseille|
|If my job depends on one game, I want to leave Chelsea immediately – Sarri|
|Sarri hopes Hazard stays at Chelsea but will respect any decision|
|NRL Opta facts: Retiring Cronk seeks 100th try|
|Trail Blazers give coach Terry Stotts multi-year extension|
|Guingamp and coach Gourvennec part ways following relegation|
|Coutinho returns to Barcelona training ahead of Copa del Rey final|
|Lam signs new long-term contract with Bristol|
|Aduriz agrees one-year Athletic extension|
|Those Star Wars writers might have been busy! Rodgers unhappy with Game of Thrones finale|
|He should have a statue in Perez´s garden – Real Madrid great lauds Zidane´s return|
|Gyan makes Ghana retirement U-turn after presidential request|
|49ers pass rusher Bosa tweaks hamstring|
|Kroos, Ter Stegen to miss Germany qualifiers|
|Archer brings X-factor to England attack – Root|
|Thorgan Hazard completes Borussia Dortmund move|
|Giannis not feeling pressure despite Raptors revival|
|Gundogan confident Man City will keep Sane despite Bayern links|
|Sterling wants to discuss tackling racism with FA and Premier League|
|Raptors´ VanVleet ends shooting slump after birth of second child|
|Pogba and Hazard to Real Madrid? It´s possible, says Varane|
|Plunkett hails ´special talent´ Archer|
|Solskjaer deserves patience at Manchester United - Van Persie|
|Yankees stay hot, pull away for win over Orioles|
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|Blues snap 49-year Stanley Cup Finals drought|
|Koscielny slams UEFA after Mkhitaryan withdrawal|
|Del Bosque defends Spanish clubs despite European failure|
|Pulisic keen to match Hazard impact at Chelsea|
|Durant ´100 per cent undecided´ about future, says manager|
|Rodgers says Packers´ new offense is ´going to look different´|
|Beilein explains decision to leave Michigan for Cavaliers|
|Warriors became ´unbeatable´ with Durant, says Green|
|Simeone reaffirms Atletico commitment ahead of rebuild|
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|Lacazette adamant he´s in the form of his life|