The Houston Rockets have lost five of their last seven games and a lot of the blame has fallen on James Harden. One notable player who hasn’t been getting much help is center, Dwight Howard. In an interview with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols, Shaquille O’Neal said that he wished he could put Dwight “on notice.”

Shaquille O’Neal’s wife, Shaunie, put James Harden on notice amid his poor shooting slump. She said “I think he needs to get himself right mentally and physically.” Read more in detail here: shaquille o’neal’s wife.

Shaquille O'Neal Puts James Harden on Notice Amid Poor Shooting Slump

The NBA playoffs are approaching, and the Philadelphia 76ers are in serious danger.

Sure, Joel Embiid is an MVP contender, but the 76ers realize that his abilities alone won’t lead them to the promised land. He needs assistance, which the Sixers believed they were providing when they acquired James Harden from the Brooklyn Nets.

Harden, on the other hand, has been a shadow of his former self and is now mired in a shooting slump. So, before of the playoffs, NBA icon Shaquille O’Neal sent Harden a message: It’s time to step up.

For the 76ers, James Harden is shooting terribly.

James Harden is known as one of the best scorers in NBA history as well as an isolation king. However, his waning athleticism makes it more difficult for him to score with his iso moves, and his outside shots aren’t dropping.

Harden’s stats this season are among the lowest of his career. Since his days with the Oklahoma City Thunder, he’s averaging the fewest points (22.0). His field-goal percentage (41.0 percent) is also at a career low, while his three-point shooting (33.3 percent) is at an all-time low.

The 10-time All-numbers Star’s have become much worse in the previous five games. Harden is averaging 15.0 points per possession while shooting 31.7 percent overall and 27.3 percent from three-point range.

Is this the new normal for Harden, or is he just choking when it matters most, like he has been known to do throughout his career? Shaquille O’Neal is now confronting him, and it might be a little bit of both.

James Harden was severely challenged by Shaquille O’Neal.

NBA legend Shaquille O'Neal and Philadelphia 76ers star James Harden.

NBA legend Shaquille O'Neal and Philadelphia 76ers star James Harden. James Harden and Shaquille O’Neal (L-R) | Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images; Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Years ago, Shaquille O’Neal was in Joel Embiid’s shoes. He was a formidable big guy who required the help of a brilliant guard to win a title. And it all worked out in his favor. With Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade, Shaq won three championships.

He now wants James Harden to borrow from one of their books.

On the April 7 broadcast of Inside the NBA, O’Neal remarked, “They have a player who has showed he can do that, but he hasn’t done that yet.” “He did it for the first five games while they were on their honeymoon, but then he faded.” He is the answer; he must take action. Embiid is playing like he’s an MVP candidate. What are your plans, Robin?… He has to perform at the level of a superstar, which we know he is capable of.”

Harden had 15 assists in his most recent game, according to O’Neal and Jamal Crawford, but the 76ers don’t need that from him. They need a scorer to complement Embiid.

“Give me an aggressive James and an aggressive Joel Embiid, and I’ll throw everything I’ve got on those two,” he continued.

The 76ers are counting on the former NBA MVP to deliver.

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In recent games, James Harden has done an excellent job of setting up his teammates. In his previous five games, he has averaged 11.8 assists. The 76ers, on the other hand, demonstrated last season that they don’t need a facilitator. In the playoffs, Ben Simmons averaged 8.8 assists per game, but his lower scoring production prevented them from progressing beyond the conference semifinals.

The Beard has the ability to score at a high level. He’s won the scoring title three times. All he has to do now is find out how to do it more efficiently. Maybe he should focus on getting open when he’s not in possession of the ball? Maybe he should give up attempting to take guys off the dribble and just play in the flow of the offense?

With two games remaining, the 76ers are in fourth place in the Eastern Conference. They are a half-game behind the Boston Celtics for third place and would prefer to face the injured Chicago Bulls in the first round over the advancing Toronto Raptors.

The playoffs begin next week, but Harden must operate as if they are already underway. He has to start playing at a better level for the 76ers if he wants to win a championship.

Basketball Reference provided the statistics.

RELATED: Jalen Rose Exposes James Harden’s Downward Trend

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