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Mike D’Antoni rushed to defend James Harden towards sharp criticism from his predecessor.

Former Houston Rockets head coach Kevin McHale stated Harden wasn’t a pacesetter and denigrated his protection in a current episode of Open Courtroom whereas discussing the addition of Chris Paul.

Naturally, Harden took exception to these feedback and defended himself whereas discrediting McHale. The sometimes understated Harden referred to as McHale a “clown,” amongst different issues.

Whereas D’Antoni stayed mum on McHale, he did lavish Harden with reward.

“All I can do is speak about my expertise, and he is been unbelievably nice,” D’Antoni advised ESPN’s Tim MacMahon. “Clearly, I acquired Coach of the Yr final yr due to him and the opposite 10 guys on the group.”

Harden responded strongly to D’Antoni’s teaching of their first season collectively. He organized a minicamp for his teammates final offseason, embraced his place change, and led the Rockets to the third-greatest document within the league. None of that was misplaced on D’Antoni.

“He is been nice with every part I requested. I requested numerous him final yr. I requested him to be the purpose guard. I requested him to speak in D. I requested a whole lot of issues, and he responded nice,” he stated.

“We had nice chemistry. He is the primary one to get all of them collectively within the summertime or take them out through the yr to maintain the workforce collectively. So I did not see it. He is been nice for me.”

In all equity to McHale, he did not essentially have the identical expertise as D’Antoni. McHale’s final season with Harden ended prematurely because the Rockets obtained off to a poor begin in 2015 amid bitter infighting between Harden and Dwight Howard.