NBA Twitter roasts James Harden for losing to Knicks in Clippers debut

James Harden lost his Clippers debut, so naturally the internet was prepared to offer sweeping takeaways.
Quentin Grimes, James Harden
Quentin Grimes, James Harden / Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

James Harden made his Los Angeles Clippers debut against the New York Knicks on Monday night. He was initially supposed to face a minutes restriction, but Ty Lue gave Harden a long leash — 31 minutes — and the production was solid. He converted 6-of-9 from the field (2-of-4 from deep) for 17 points, three rebounds, and six assists.

It's his first game, so it's hard to complain much. Harden made an effort to fit in with his new surroundings. He didn't go out of his way to freestyle or hijack possessions from his very talented teammates. Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, and Russell Westbrook all took more shots. Despite his "I'm a system" comments that made waves a few days back, Harden looked more than willing to operate within the confines of Ty Lue's offense.

So, naturally, the Clippers lost to a good Knicks team and the internet went to work. Harden has earned his share of detractors over the years and they were out in full force Monday night to celebrate the premature demise of a legendary sandbagger

NBA Twitter holds Clippers funeral ceremony after 0-1 start to James Harden Era

Some of the takes were well-reasoned and based on #tape, such as "James Harden, still very good at basketball."

Others were rooted less in fact and more in a desire to demolish Harden no matter the material circumstances of the game. The loss was the cherry on top of a vindictive sundae. We can appreciate the energy in these parts. It's what fandom is all about.

Yes, the Washington Wizards and New York Knicks are the same caliber of basketball team. Do not fact-check this statement.

Even SportsCenter joined the burn parade.

Will the James Harden #system work in LA? Has it ever worked? (Do not fact-check with Houston Rockets offensive numbers from 2018.)

At the end of the day, Los Angeles will undergo natural growing pains as Harden adjusts to his new surroundings and his new surroundings adjust to him. He wasn't involved in the offense enough. The Westbrook fit is going to be wonky at times. The defensive concerns are grave, especially when Kawhi Leonard and Paul George take a break.

But, at the end of the day, James Harden is also a great basketball player. There are valid qualms about his play style and his postseason predictability, but the Clippers are adding an efficient second-fiddle scorer who moonlights as arguably the best facilitator in the NBA. He is going to add a new level of dynamism to the offense and keep non-Kawhi, non-PG units afloat. The Clippers just got a whole lot better.

The Knicks won this game fair and square, but it's probably not time to write the obituary on the Harden-era Clippers. A lot has gone wrong in Harden's recent pitstops, but the Clippers are taking a calculated gamble on an All-NBA talent. There's a decent chance it works out.

NBA RUMORS. Knicks in 'civil war,' Durant likes OKC plan, Kerr's last run for gold. Knicks in 'civil war,' Durant likes OKC plan, Kerr's last run for gold. dark