Houston, TX (AP) Asked whether James Harden should start next Sunday's All-Star Game, TNT commentator Marv Albert said, "A resounding yes."
It's one thing for Albert to say yes. He wouldn't hesitate to attach his trademark "Yes!" to a layup. But a resounding yes? That's like "Yes!!!"
The question is whether his former TNT colleague, Steve Kerr, agrees. He no doubt would have if employed as an objective broadcaster. That would have been the correct call.
But now that Kerr, who - as Golden State's coach - is in charge of the Western Conference All-Stars, he might start his own player, Klay Thompson, at shooting guard to replace the injured Kobe Bryant. That also might be the correct call in the interests of Warriors harmony.
A year ago, it also might have been in the best interests of the Rockets. It might have motivated Harden.
Today? It probably doesn't make much difference to him. I don't see how he could be more motivated.
Portland, the Rockets' opponent Sunday at Toyota Center, gave him all the motivation he needed for this season. It wasn't just that the Trail Blazers needed six games to eliminate the Rockets in the first round of the playoffs, it also was that Harden was called out for the first time since coming to Houston for not providing leadership, intensity or his "A" game when the situation screamed for all three.