Rockets history: James Harden drops 51 against Sacramento Kings

Houston Rockets James Harden (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Houston Rockets James Harden (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images) /

The Houston Rockets have had many great performances on April Fools Day, but none have been better than James Harden’s unstoppable game against the Sacramento Kings in 2015.

Heading into the 2014-15 season, the Houston Rockets were eager to erase the previous season out of their memory, as the Rockets’ season ended on a Damian Lillard walk-off 3-pointer during Game 6 of the opening round of the playoffs. The Rockets got off to a 51-24 record through the first 75 games, and headed into an April 1st matchup against the Sacramento Kings, which was the first of a back-to-back game.

The Rockets ultimately won both games, and ultimately went 12-8 that season during back-to-back games. The April Fool’s game was a dominant display by James Harden, as The Beard was unstoppable all night.

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The Kings gave the Rockets a run for their money, as the Rockets led by two points with 5:50 remaining. At that point, the score was 104-102, which was a major comeback by Sacramento, as they trailed 97-82 with 1:06 remaining in the third quarter.

Harden would score 10 straight points for the Rockets in the next 3:40, with a combination of 3-pointers, drives to the basket, and trips to the line, as he was in his bag. And just like that, the Kings were down 114-107, which ultimately was too big of a deficit for them to climb out of.

Harden didn’t miss a shot all quarter, which is yet another example of his clutch gene, which many seem to want to ignore. Although Harden closed the game out in the final period, he gashed the Kings through the first three quarters as well, as he had 41 points heading into the fourth quarter.

All in all, The Beard had 51 points, and only needed 25 shots to get there, as he went 16-of-25 from the floor (64 percent), 8-of-9 from deep (88.9 percent), and 11-of-13 from the charity stripe (84.6 percent). Harden also posted a true shooting percentage of an astronomical 83 percent, which is yet another example of how the Kings simply had no answer for him.

Harden also added eight rebounds, six assists, and three steals, and was one of only three Rockets players to score in double figures (imagine that). Harden helped the Rockets overcome the absence of Dwight Howard, as they ultimately defeated the Kings 115-111.

This was one of only two 50-point games from The Beard that season, and the other performance came just seven games before the Rockets’ April Fool’s Day matchup against Sacramento. Interestingly enough, these were not only the first 50-point games of Harden’s Houston Rockets career, but also of his entire NBA career.

The Kings did all they could to combat Harden’s masterful performance, as they had seven double-digit scorers, but ultimately Harden proved to be too much. It’s safe to say the Kings wished it was an April Fool’s joke that fell upon them but it couldn’t have been more real.

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Sacramento lost five of their next six games, as Harden snatched their soul from them on that day. If only it was an April Fool’s joke.