Houston Rockets moment #4: Surpassing Murphy and making NBA history
Even more special than his own personal single-game scoring record is the game in which Harden broke the Rockets’ franchise scoring record while simultaneously making NBA history. The team record for points scored in a single game had previously been held by a familiar face in the franchise, one whose suits are as electric as his personality.
In March of 1978, Rockets legend Calvin Murphy scored a massive 57 points against the New Jersey Nets, and this was before the 3-point line even existed. Murphy would hold that record for 40 years and would be in attendance to see it broken by James Harden in the same year of his MVP title.
Against the Orlando Magic, Harden led the Rockets to a win, putting up an inimitable performance of 60 points, 10 rebounds, and 11 assists on 63.3 percent shooting from the field, 35.7 percent from deep, and 94.4 percent from the free-throw line. In addition to setting history for the Rockets franchise, this would also be the first 60-point triple-double in the history of the NBA.
This would be one of many performances that would make Harden’s case for the MVP award that season all the more deserved. Additionally, he pulled it out while his partner in crime at the time, Chris Paul, was unavailable, illustrating his ability to put a team on his back and carry them to victory.
With the last record going unbroken for four decades, who knows when Houston will see another player who even stands a reasonable chance at surpassing Harden’s position at the top of the scoring hierarchy. At least until then, this game will always be cemented in the minds of Houston fans as one of Harden’s greatest moments as a Rocket.
Next: No. 3