James Harden accomplished yet another impressive scoring feat in the Houston Rockets’ most recent win as the team picks up steam heading into the postseason.
When it comes to scoring, Rockets guard James Harden has done it all this season. He’s averaging a league-leading 35.9 points per game, practically walking away with this season’s scoring title months ago. He also scored at least 30 points in 32 consecutive games, joining Wilt Chamberlain as the only players with such a streak.
Harden has seen almost every defensive scheme from every team around the league, but no one can seem to hold him under 30 points, except for the Atlanta Hawks. Coming into Tuesday’s game in Atlanta, The Beard had scored at least 30 points against every team in the NBA except for the Hawks. His season high in his only game against Atlanta was a mere 28 points, which is far below the season average for the league’s raining MVP.
Now that the Rockets are healthy, Harden’s scoring has dropped over the last few games. He simply doesn’t need to take as many shots with Chris Paul and Clint Capela back in the lineup, and Houston’s improved defensive effort means they don’t need to score as many points to win ball games.
However, you just knew Harden wouldn’t pass up the opportunity to score 30 against all 29 other teams in the NBA.
Houston had a very slow start offensively against Atlanta on Tuesday, shooting just 4-for-21 from 3-point range in the first half. Fortunately, Houston’s defense kept them in the game and they took a 53-47 lead into halftime.
Houston came alive in the third period, nailing eight 3-pointers in the quarter. They knocked down seven more 3s in the final quarter, leading Houston to an easy 121-105 win against Atlanta.
Harden had 24 points through three quarters, but with Houston’s lead steadily climbing while he watched from the bench in the fourth period, it almost appeared as if his night was over. However, Paul needed to check out for his usual mid quarter rest, so it was Harden’s responsibility to put the game out of reach.
A 3-pointer from Harden with 4:51 left in regulation gave The Beard 27 points and put Houston up 109-93. A minute later, Trae Young fouled Harden on a shot attempt, sending him to the line for two easy points. With 2:28 left, the Hawks fouled Harden on a 3-point attempt and he converted on two of his three free-throws, giving him 31 points for the game.
James Harden has now scored at least 30 points against every team in the NBA. It may seem like an insignificant stat to some, but it helps build James Harden’s case for MVP. Clearly, The Beard is the most deserving player once again.