James Harden’s historic streak of scoring 30 or more points ended on Monday, but the Houston Rockets superstar doesn’t seem to care.
After the Rockets pulled off a huge win in Golden State without James Harden, returning home to face the rebuilding Hawks was the ultimate trap game.
Atlanta, led by rookie Trae Young, put up a valiant effort against the Rockets. Young led the Hawks with 36 points and 8 assists. Young also nailed a career-high 8 3-pointers, many coming from well beyond the 3-point line.
However, Houston’s team effort kept Atlanta’s runs at bay. The Hawks only led by as many as two points and every time they closed the gap, the Rockets would nail a couple of 3s and push their lead back to double digits.
Chris Paul had another strong game, finishing with 20 points, 6 rebounds and 8 assists. Eric Gordon moved back to his sixth man role in this game, but he added 16 points off the bench. Kenneth Faried continued his impressive run in a Rockets’ jersey, finishing with 13 points and 10 rebounds as the starting power forward.
James Harden led the team in scoring, as he has in almost every game this season, but he only finished with 28 points, ending his 30-point streak at 32 games. Harden didn’t seem disappointed that his historic streak came to an end and admitted he didn’t expect to catch Wilt Chamberlain‘s 30-point streak of 65 consecutive games, according to ESPN’s Michael C. Wright.
“It was cool. I knew I wasn’t going to get to No. 1.”
As the playoffs get closer and closer, wins are the only thing that matters to James Harden and the Rockets.
“I don’t care. We won. Made shots, missed shots, we won the game. That streak was great, but I was just doing it because that’s what we had to do in order to keep our heads above water. Now, we get our full roster back. You look at the stat line, and we had multiple guys in double figures [six players], which is great to see. Hopefully, we can keep that up.”
The streak was fun while it lasted, but now the Rockets can focus on building chemistry and gaining momentum in March and April. Nene didn’t play on Monday, but Houston’s game against Atlanta marked the first time all season that every player was available.
The Rockets are just two games behind Portland for the fourth seed and three and a half games behind Oklahoma City for the third spot. If Houston remains healthy for the rest of the season, they could finish with one of the three best records in the west.