Harden vows to make Rockets better after elimination


James Harden did not have an explanation for the Houston Rockets' forgettable elimination from the NBA playoffs.

Harden and the Rockets crumbled as they suffered a 114-75 humbling at the hands of the San Antonio Spurs in game six of the Western Conference semi-finals on Thursday.

With Spurs star Kawhi Leonard injured, the Rockets turned to MVP candidate Harden for inspiration in their bid to force a game seven but he struggled spectacularly, finishing with just 10 points on two-of-11 shooting.

"We just didn't play well," Harden told reporters. "I don't know what it was. They played well and we didn't."

Harden turned the ball over six times before fouling out with less than four minutes remaining in the game.

He did not even attempt a shot before knocking down a three-pointer with 6:18 remaining in the second quarter. 

"I really didn't have a rhythm at the beginning of the game," Harden said. "As a team, and as a unit, we just didn't have a rhythm and they capitalized on that.

"Everything falls on my shoulders. I take responsibility for it. It's tough, especially the way we lost a game six at home. It happened, now we move forward."

Harden said the Rockets did not take the Spurs lightly even though San Antonio were without Leonard due to an ankle injury. 

"Some nights, life hits you in the face," Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni said. "I know they feel as bad as I do and this is going to hurt and linger. Hopefully this will spur us on."

Even Spurs boss Gregg Popovich was speechless on Houston's blowout loss. 

"He told me he didn't know what to say," Harden said when asked about his post-game conversation with Popovich. 

"It's frustrating," Harden said of the loss. "It hurts. It stings. We've got just to figure out a way to get better, and we will."