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Houston Rockets: James Harden having best stretch of career

Houston Rockets James Harden (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)
Houston Rockets James Harden (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)
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The Houston Rockets are fortunate enough to have MVP-quality play from their superstar throughout the season, but especially recently in the month of December. This stretch of games is righting the ship in Houston and is one of the best of his career.

James Harden is in the middle of an absolutely incredible stretch of games that has seen the Houston Rockets get to a season-high three games over .500. Over the past eight games, the Beard is averaging remarkable numbers of 38.5 points to go along with 8.5 assists and 6 rebounds a game. He’s also putting up 2.3 steals per game during the stretch and has been active on both ends of the court.

The Rockets are 7-1 in those eight games, with the one loss coming after Chris Paul was injured in the second quarter of the Heat game. The team kind of fell apart after that moment and ended up allowing Miami to come back and win. Since then, though, the Rockets have won both of their games without their star point guard, thanks in large part to James Harden.

This is probably the best stretch of Harden’s career. He has seven 30-point games in a row, a career-best.

Harden's 3 gives him 30 for a seventh-consecutive game, the longest streak of his career and longest in the NBA since Westbrook had 30 in eight straight in Nov. 2016.

— Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) December 25, 2018

Efficiency

One thing that Harden got clowned for on social media yesterday was his efficiency. Especially without CP3, the Beard is chucking up shots like no one’s business. That’s not an issue, though, as it is what he needs to do for the Rockets to win right now. Plus, he’s actually been pretty efficient in this stretch.

During the eight games, he is shooting 45% overall, solid for a star player, and 39% from deep, which is higher than both his season (37.6%) and his career (36.5%) averages. The media is trying to discredit what Harden is doing, for whatever reason. Right now, it seems to be cool to hate on the Beard, but what he’s accomplishing right now is truly incredible.

Here are two examples of the hate coming his way from big name websites yesterday after the win over the Thunder:

James Harden had 41 points off 35 shots. pic.twitter.com/RzLaIpmp4k

— Yahoo Sports NBA (@YahooSportsNBA) December 25, 2018

This one is just ridiculous. The important thing is that the Rockets got the win, which Harden had a huge part of with his 41 points on Christmas Day. Yahoo Sports is just hating for the retweets.

Behind a big but inefficient scoring night from James Harden, the Rockets eked out a Christmas victory over the Thunder https://t.co/TK0k85xGI1

— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) December 25, 2018

This one is a backhanded complement, making it sound like the Rockets were expected and supposed to, without Chris Paul, beat the No. 3 team in the conference in the middle of a great year.

Next. James Harden’s performance deserves MVP recognition

If the haters are hating, that means James Harden is doing something right. If he keeps playing this way, he’ll have the Houston Rockets back in contention and be right back in the middle of the MVP conversation. One of our writers wrote about that earlier, be sure to check out that article above!

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