The James Harden show has no brakes in sight


James Harden playing in the Drew League in 2011 (photo by GAMEFACE PHOTOS)

Paul McLaughlin, Staff Writer, Sports Editor, & Copy Editor

On Wednesday night, the Houston Rockets defeated the New York Knicks 114-110 in a game where Houston Rockets superstar James Harden poured in a career-high 61 points, tying Kobe Bryant for the most points scored by an opponent at Madison Square Garden. Harden has scored at least 30 points in 21 straight games, the fourth-longest streak of all time behind the likes of Wilt Chamberlain. 

During this 21 game span, Harden is averaging 43.1 points per game and, additionally, on the season is averaging 36.3 points per game; the highest since Michael Jordan’s 37.1 points per game during the 1986-1987 season. He has not scored less than 30 points since mid-December, which was over a month ago. Look at the names that are being used in the very article that you are reading: Kobe Bryant, Wilt Chamberlain, Michael Jordan. Harden is having one of the most historic and legendary runs in the history of the sport of basketball. Not only is he averaging 36.3 points per game but he is adding 8.3 assists per game (fourth in the league), 6.6 rebounds per game (third among guards), and 2.1 steals per game (fourth in the league) alongside his point totals. He is impacting the game in almost every way possible.

The team’s center, Clint Capela has been out for five games so far, while expected to miss 3-5 more weeks; starting guard Eric Gordon has missed 11 games, and All-Star guard, Chris Paul, has missed nearly half the season with 21 games of absence. Point being, Harden has led a team of veterans and former G-Leaguers to the fifth seed in the highly-competitive western conference, a conference where the sixth seed and the thirteenth seed are only separated by five games. Are you saying, “Oh no, basketball is a team sport, there is no way James Harden can single-handedly carry an entire NBA team?” Because you should be. It defies all logic that one player could pull this off. Even during Russell Westbrook’s MVP season where he had “no help”, he still had Steven Adams and a blossoming Victor Oladipo. However, Harden doesn’t have that courtesy. He has scored 263 unassisted points in a row. That means that he has been creating every shot for himself during that 263-point span, not one singular assist being granted to one of his teammates.

The Houston Rockets have gone 15-6, winning 71.4% of their games over Harden’s 21 game explosion. After scoring a career high in points in New York’s Madison Square Garden, it does not look like Harden will be slowing doing his campaign for the most valuable player in the league during the 2018-2019 season. The James Harden show has no brakes in sight.