Houston Rockets: James Harden’s 15 most captivating performances

By Josh Cornelissen
James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /
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Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images /

4. January 23, 2019

Line: 61 points, 15 rebounds, 4 assists, 5 steals, 5-20 3-pointers, 22-25 free throws, +19

Madison Square Garden is the emotional center of basketball. The home of the New York Knicks, among others, is a stage where everyone is watching and basketball’s stars get the chance to make a statement with their performances.

Going into a January 2019 game against the lowly Knicks may have been a trap waiting to happen, and indeed the Rockets struggled to gain separation. Harden entered with 19 straight games scoring at least 30 points, and by the end of things had doubled up that amount.

As is the case with so many teams, the Knicks had no one to guard Harden. Terrified of his 3-pointer, defenders stayed tight on him and he drove by to the rim unaccosted.

For those who adjusted, he stepped back and drained a 3-pointer in their eye. Twice young Knicks players trying to recover fouled him on a 3-pointer he drilled for a 4-point play.

The Knicks hung around, however, trading shots on the other end. They had the ball down two points with just seconds remaining and Eric Gordon pressured his man to briefly lose his dribble. Harden came sprinting in to force a steal, which he then took to the house to put the game away with just five seconds remaining.

To cap off one of his greatest offensive games ever, Harden had a defensive play to seal the victory. If nothing else illustrates the month of January Harden had, that does. In basketball’s most decorated arena Harden was unstoppable, putting his name into the mix with Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and Stephen Curry for unforgettable performances at The Garden.

Next: December 31, 2016