James Harden Earns Third Player of Week Award This Season
By Tamberlyn Richardson
James Harden has been in the mix for Most Valuable Player all season. As of this week he has the Houston Rockets sitting in the second seed out West and atop the very competitive Southwest Division.
While some media pundits site Stephen Curry as the leading candidate others place Harden ahead based on the Rockets dealing with copious injuries this season. This past week he posted his second 50 point game of the season scoring 51 points to replace the career best that he registered less than a month earlier (March 19th). Adding to the scoring barrage he out scored his closest competitor for the scoring title (Russell Westbrook) yesterday posting 41 points in what was a delightful Easter Special for those of us who witnessed two athletes playing their best ball.
Entering the day Harden was the leading NBA scorer with 27.50 points per game with Westbrook nipping at his heels scoring 27.45 per game. Harden is well ahead in total points (2,063) given Westbrook had to miss 14 games due to the broken bone in his hand and one other game following the broken bone in his cheek.
On the season Harden has 10 games in which he has scored 40 points or more (Westbrook has 8), 34 games in which he has scored 30 points or more and he and Kyrie Irving are the lone players who have two games of 50 points or more registered this season.
For the week Harden averaged a gaudy 37.5 points per game 5.75 rebounds per game and 5.75 assists per game. He led the Rockets to a 3-1 week. The games for the week featured:
The lone loss of the week came March 30th against the Raptors where he scored 31 points, had 5 rebounds, 5 assists and a steal.
His 51 point career high game versus Sacramento on April 1st resulting in a win and also included eight rebounds, six assists and three steals.
In the inter-division game versus Dallas on April 2nd he scored 24 points had six assists and four rebounds in a big win that also gave them the season series.
And yesterday versus Oklahoma City he scored 41 points, had six rebounds, six assists and three steals. The highlight of the game was how every time Westbrook would get the Thunder close Harden would take over the game to put the Rockets back in front. When Westbrook tied the game late in the fourth quarter Harden scored the next 8 points on back to back 3-pointers and drove the paint adding another 2-point basket.
Brook Lopez won Player of the Week for the Eastern Conference.
Other players in consideration were:
West: Kawhi Leonard: Spurs, DeAndre Jordan: Clippers, Chris Paul: Clippers
East: DeMar DeRozan: Raptors, DeMarre Carroll: Hawks, DeRon Williams: Nets, LeBron James: Cavaliers, John Wall: Wizards
This is the third time this season Harden has won Player of the Week having also won for the weeks December 15th and December 29th.
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