Ohm Youngmisuk, ESPN Staff WriterNov 5, 2023, 03:32 PM ET
- Ohm Youngmisuk has covered the Giants, Jets and the NFL since 2006. Prior to that, he covered the Nets, Knicks and the NBA for nearly a decade. He joined ESPNNewYork.com after working at the New York Daily News for almost 12 years and is a graduate of Michigan State University.
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NEW YORK — James Harden said he will make his LA Clippers debut on Monday night at Madison Square Garden against the New York Knicks.
“Definitely,” Harden said when asked if he is sure to make his debut against the Knicks.
Harden spoke to reporters before going through a practice on Sunday in New York and the point guard said he is good to go barring anything unforeseen happening. The Clippers have been off since losing to the Los Angeles Lakers in overtime Wednesday night.
That has given Harden four days to learn the Clippers offense and get in a lot of on-court work. He has played 5-on-5 pickup and participated in scrimmages Thursday and Friday.
Head coach Ty Lue has remained coy about whom he will start but the expectation is that the Clippers will go with Harden alongside starters Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, Russell Westbrook and Ivica Zubac. Lue said the starters did not scrimmage with Harden last week but that he was going to see all four of his stars on the court together during Sunday’s practice.
Lue said Harden looks in good shape but that the team will be cautious and monitor his workload against the Knicks.
“I don’t expect to go out there and play 40-something minutes, but no restrictions [physically],” Harden said.
Lue said Harden’s basketball knowledge has stood out during his first several days of practice with his new team.
“Just picking up plays quickly,” Lue said of Harden. “Understanding what guy’s going to be on the floor, how to make reads and passes in the pick-and-roll game. And so he’s asked for a lot of film to try to get up to speed as fast as possible. And it’s my job just to make sure he’s comfortable tomorrow night, not thinking too much on the floor.”
Harden is ready to finally play for his new team.
“It feels good,” Harden said of his body after these workouts. “The practices and things that you’ll be doing, like when you’re training for a game, is much more difficult than the game. So when you get in the game, it’s a lot easier. I’m just excited to get on the court.”