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 Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images
Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images /

11. January 19, 2015

Line: 45 points, 7 assists, 4 steals, 12-18 field goals, 7-12 3-pointers, 14-15 free throws

In January of 2015, the Houston Rockets were establishing themselves as a contender, one of a clump of Western Conference teams all jockeying for position. They would eventually advance to the Western Conference Finals as the second seed before losing to the Golden State Warriors in their first run.

The West was so crowded behind the Warriors that every win mattered, and sandwiched between a home-and-away with Golden State was a home game against the Indiana Pacers. Rather than overlook this as a trap game, Harden and the Rockets came out scorching.

On a night when no other Rocket posted a standout line (Dwight Howard was the next leading scorer at 14) Harden propelled the team to a 110-98 victory. He dropped 45 points on just 18 shots, an absolutely insane number. In the 12-point win, he was a team-high +17.

Harden was active on defense as well, tallying four steals against an overmatched backcourt starting Rodney Stuckey and C.J. Watson with both George Hill and Paul George out. While this may not have been the biggest win over a juggernaut opponent, it was one of the most efficient and productive games of Harden’s career.

Next: April 1, 2015