Harden took just nine shots in Game 6, making four of them, and he finished with 11 points, nine assists and four rebounds. Stoudemire explained his view of the former MVP’s performance on ESPN’s “First Take.”
“I think it did look intentional, right?” Stoudemire said. “Because it seems like James doesn’t want Doc as the head coach. And he has history of if he doesn’t like something, he will shut down. And we saw last night that he shut down.”
Stoudemire then explained that Harden’s decision to not answer some questions after the game was further evidence that he doesn’t agree with Rivers being the team’s head coach.
The Sixers acquired Harden at this year’s trade deadline and hoped that he would help lead the team to an NBA title.
However, Harden didn’t play up to his usual standards in the regular season. He averaged 21.0 points, 10.5 assists and 7.1 rebounds per game while shooting 40.2 percent from the field and 32.6 percent from beyond the arc in 21 regular season games for Philly.
While Harden did have a strong performance in Game 4 against the Heat to lead the Sixers to a win, he scored just 25 points over the final two games of the series.
The Sixers may be faced with a tough decision this coming offseason if they have to choose between keeping Rivers as their head coach or potentially finding a candidate that would make Harden happy.