James Harden matched his career-high with 61 points in Friday night’s win, joining an elite group with his second 60-point output of the season.
James Harden had his second 60-point game of the season in the Rockets 111-105 win over the Spurs on Friday. In the process, he joined Wilt Chamberlain, Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant as the only players in NBA history with multiple 60-point games in the same season.
That’s the type of season The Beard has had this year as he’s positioned himself to be one of the leading, if not the leading, candidate for MVP.
Harden may not fit the prototypical profile for a three-point shooter, but he’s excelled from downtown as his proficient and voluminous scoring is setting the pace in the NBA.
Harden’s leading the league with 36.5 points per game, a figure that’s hardly been approached since Michael Jordan averaged a career-high 37.1 points per game in his third season in 1986-1987 when he was just 23. That was the first of seven straight seasons Jordan led the league in scoring that was only halted when he retired for the first time to play baseball.
This will mark the second straight season Harden has won the scoring title, but as great as individual accolades like MVP’s and scoring titles are, the real measuring stick for Harden remains an NBA title.
It was within reach last year with the Rockets taking the Warriors to a Game 7 in the Western Conference Finals, but without Chris Paul who was injured, the Rockets were eliminated.
Could this be the year Harden’s scoring explosion results in a trip to the NBA Finals or will the big, bad Warriors continue to stand in his way and keep him from a chance at a ring?
With the win, the Rockets sit in third place in the West, four games behind the Warriors and Nuggets who are tied for the best record, and one game ahead Trail Blazers. If the postseason started today, the Rockets would meet the Clippers in the first round.