Rockets vs. Lakers: Breaking down Harden vs. LeBron by the numbers

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Houston Rockets

Houston Rockets James Harden (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Better Overall Scorer

As it pertains to scoring, it’s unfair to compare anyone to James Harden, as he’s arguably the best scorer in league history. Harden has led the league in scoring in each of the last three years and has the ability to lead the league in scoring every year. By comparison, LeBron James has only led the league in scoring once over the course of his 17-year career.

On top of that, Harden is a career 36.5 percent shooter from 3-point range, which is higher than LeBron’s 34.4 percent from downtown. In addition, LeBron is shooting 34.2 percent from downtown over the last two seasons, compared to Harden’s 37 percent in the same span.

Where Harden separates himself from LeBron and virtually everyone else in league history is his ability to get to the charity stripe, as the Houston Rockets superstar has become a master in baiting opponents into fouls. Harden has led the league in free throw attempts in seven of the past eight seasons, which LeBron has never done. On top of that, Harden is a career 85.8 percent free-throw shooter, compared to LBJ’s 73.5 percent average from the free-throw line.

LeBron has actually shot 69 percent or worse from the charity stripe in three of his last four seasons. In addition, LeBron has a career true shooting percentage of 58.6, compared to Harden’s 61.1 percent. In fact, LBJ has been under 60 percent in this category in each of the last two seasons, whereas Harden has only missed this plateau once during his eight seasons with the Houston Rockets.

On top of that, LeBron’s best scoring outputs came during the 2005-06 season in which he averaged 31.4 points per game, whereas Harden has topped that mark in each of the last two seasons. Harden has also averaged 29.6 points per game over the course of his Houston Rockets’ tenure, whereas LeBron is a career 27.1 point scorer.

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