Houston Rockets: James Harden is normalizing insane stat lines

James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets hi-fives fans after the game against the Sacramento Kings (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)
James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets hi-fives fans after the game against the Sacramento Kings (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Houston Rockets won once again behind yet another insane performance by the MVP. He is putting up stat lines that shouldn’t be possible and it’s become almost normal.

The Houston Rockets are back in the No. 3 spot in the West after a great win last night against the Sacramento Kings. They are now 49-28 after being as bad as 11-14 early on in the season. That’s an incredible 38-14 stretch!

The man behind the turnaround is none other than James Harden, of course. The MVP of the league (and should be once again this year) is putting on a clinic this season, averaging the most points we’ve seen since arguably the greatest player of all time, Michael Jordan. He’s also averaging the most points per 100 possessions EVER.

The internet was hardly buzzing after last night’s crazy stats by the Beard against a formidable Kings squad. He put up 50 points to go along with 11 rebounds and 10 assists. This is his league-leading (obviously) ninth 50-point game of the season. The NBA account had to change the size of their graphic to show the number of 50-point games this year and now seem to have scrapped it altogether, as they haven’t put up a new one since Booker’s on Wednesday.

*UPDATE* Right after I posted this article, the NBA account put this updated version:

We’re really running out of space, @JHarden13! pic.twitter.com/G4Yv9cRIqa

— NBA (@NBA) March 31, 2019

Those 50-point games…

The normalization of these stat lines that Harden puts up is part of the reason why he’s the MVP to me. He’s doing what he has to in order for the Rockets to win while putting up games that 99% of the league only can dream about having.

This is 50-point triple-double No. 5 of Harden’s career. That’s just something that shouldn’t be possible, but it is with James Harden. Like I said earlier, the buzz just isn’t there like it would if any other player in the league put up those kind of numbers in a win. I can guarantee that if Giannis did that very same performance, he’d be practically named MVP instantly on social media on sports talk television.

The discrediting

Instead, people try to find ways to discredit Harden for what he’s doing. The true sign of greatness is when people are nitpicking historical stat lines, looking for ways to see why he “should’ve” been better.

People complain about the efficiency. Does Harden take a lot of shots? Of course he does. Does he take a ton of 3s? Obviously. Field goal percentage isn’t the greatest stat to look at when discussing the Beard. True shooting percentage takes into account the number of 3s and free throws he takes and gives a more accurate look at his greatness.

He gets fouled a lot, too. People love getting mad about that. He’s crafty enough to find ways to get defenders to reach in on him. It’s a foul, so maybe try playing more disciplined defense and not fouling him for future reference.

MVP race

I can already see how this one will end. I have a feeling that Giannis Antetokounmpo will probably be taking home his first this summer, as much as James Harden deserves it. The Beard has been snubbed multiple times thanks to how the MVP is given out.

The fact that Harden puts up these insane stat lines regularly and has normalized them actually might hurt his case a bit. Media buzz is something that really affects the narrative-driven MVP award, and that’s something Giannis is getting more of this year. He has more wins and is still having an incredible season. He also has the betting odds going for him.

Next. Get ready for the playoffs, Rockets fans

Like I said about a week ago, who cares if the voters recognize Harden as the MVP or not. We are witnessing greatness and history each and every night and it’s incredible to watch.