The Houston Rockets won’t win the NBA championship, but unless Russell Westbrook goes on a banoodles run, James Harden is locking down the first-half MVP and looking to go home with some serious hardware.
Houston defeated the Philadelphia 76ers 123-118 on Friday night and Harden recorded his 14th triple double of the 2016-17 season, tying Hakeem Olajuwon’s Rockets franchise record for triple doubles in a career.
That wasn’t the wild part about it though. For the first time in NBA history, Harden has recorded two 50-point triple-double games in one season. The stats master strikes again.
The first one was on December 31st, when Harden went for 53 points, 16 rebounds and 17 assists against the Knicks in a historic display of multi-faceted offensive execution.
Friday night’s gem (51 points, 12 boards, 12 dimes) gets us ready for the weekend and emphatically reminds everyone who the coldest hardwood boss has been in the NBA this season.
Regardless of whether or not you believe Houston’s style of play can win a c’hip, dude is breaking some serious ground. Sure, Westbrook is averaging a triple-double for the season but while OKC struggles to maintain the sixth seed in the West, Harden has the Rockets sitting comfortably in third.
To put Harden’s performance into perspective, there have only been two 50-point, 12 rebound, 12 assist games in the NBA since 1983 total. That’s 15,258 days (from 1/19/75 to 10/28/16) that the NBA existed without any such games.
(Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Him and Russ are going neck and neck for "modern-day Oscar Robertson" status. Tonight was also Harden's fifth 40-point triple-double this season, tying Big O’s record (1963-1964) for most in one season.
As fans, I guess we must stop disbelieving Harden’s greatness just because he has progressed as a player beyond most people’s expectations and comprehension. We are witnessing history in bearded motion and one of the greatest individual and statistical seasons by a guard in NBA history.
We keep waiting for Harden to cool off and come back to earth. Remember when we thought Amar'e Stoudemire and Steve Nash were eating off Mike D’Antoni’s system about as much as two guys can ? It got Nash two MVP's. Well Harden has taken it to next levels and he’s only getting stronger as the season progresses. He is jet-setting into the All-Star break doing a buck in the rain.