The first five games of the 2021-22 season have been a struggle for James Harden, especially when it comes to his individual offensive production.
He averaged just 16.6 points, including a season high at just 20 points, with his biggest drop in his game coming in his ability to make mistakes through the new official NBA rules.
Through five games, he has averaged a career low in free throw attempts per game at 3.0 after averaging 10.2 over the previous nine seasons.
MORE: NBA Law Changes in 2021, Explained
Some of his attempts to make a mistake looked ugly early in the season, as referees stressed those calls. Take a look at this thread from Wednesday night’s Nets game against the Miami Heat.
In front of the Indiana Pacers on Friday night, Beard seemed to have found something with the whistle in its way, especially in the first half.
He popped with 21 first-half points, already his highest of the season, while leading 10 of 11 from the free-throw line. The number of 11 free throw attempts he scored in the previous four games combined.
At the last bell, with the Nets winning 105-98, Harden finished with 29 points on a 16-of-19 shot from the free throw line.
The nineteen attempts, Harden’s largest of the net, are four more than the number of free throw attempts in all previous games combined.
Did he really find anything or was this a one time flash in the pan? Only time will tell as the season progresses.