James Harden treated NBA fans to a game for the ages during the Houston Rockets’ 114-110 win over the New York Knicks. While many believe that players look forward to playing at Madison Square Garden, it was apparent that Harden felt right at home on Wednesday night. He wrapped up the game with an incredible 61 points and the level he played at was so dominant it left fans stunned.
But when diving even deeper into the boxscore, one thing that stands out is how Harden’s stat line compared to the Knicks’ entire starting lineup. The NBA’s reigning Most Valuable Player outscored all five players New York put on the floor to start the game. Here’s a look at the breakdown:
- Tim Hardaway Jr. (21), Emmanuel Mudiay (14), Kevin Knox (12), Noah Vonleh (10), Lance Thomas (2) = 59 points
The bulk of the Knicks’ scoring came from Allonzo Trier off the bench, who totaled 31 points while Mitchell Robinson tacked on 12 points. Regardless of how you look at it, this just makes the accomplishment by Harden even more incredible.
Taking it one step further, four of the five starters for the Knicks played 28 or more minutes with Thomas playing just 14. Even if you want to pull Thomas out of the equation, the fact Harden outscored four NBA starters by himself is literally hard to believe.
James Harden Sets Multiple NBA Feats
Harden’s performance at Madison Square Garden was tied for the most points by a visiting player in NBA history, as ESPN Stats & Info revealed. His 61 points are level with Kobe Bryant, and he also became the first player to score 60 points and total 15 rebounds in a single game since Shaquille O’Neal did so in 2000.
When the night wrapped up, Harden had knocked down 44.7 percent of his shots from the field (17-38) while connecting on 22-of-25 free throw attempts. Along with his 61 points and 15 rebounds, Harden added five steals and four assists for good measure.
James Harden’s Incredible Recent Stretch
Although Harden has been a force all year, the stretch he’s put together with teammate Chris Paul sidelined due to injury has been on another level. Paul went down on December 20 with a hamstring injury and Harden has scored 35 points or more in 16 of 17 games while going for 32 in the one other.
Through just the 11 games the Rockets have played in the month of January, the 29-year old is averaging 45.8 points, 8.9 rebounds and 7.9 assists per game. It’s hard to argue that anyone is more deserving than Harden of the MVP award at this point, and it’s going to be a tall task for anyone to keep up at the rate he’s going.