Even by the ridiculous curve on which James Harden’s scoring explosions are graded, this one registers as more than just impressive.
The Houston Rockets superstar blew the doors off the Orlando Magic in a 130-107 win on Friday with 54 points on 19-of-31 shooting, seven assists and five rebounds. That’s his fifth 50-point effort this season, his third since Dec. 1 and his second in as many games.
But none of that is the impressive part. No, that would be Harden’s 10 made 3-pointers in the game, the second game in a row he’s made double-digit shots from deep.
James Harden (54 PTS) is on a mission.— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) December 14, 2019
Back-to-back 50+ point | 10+ 3PM games for The Beard 🤯 pic.twitter.com/62sVLtWAOi
To put that in perspective, only four players in the history of the NBA have multiple games in their career with 10 or more made 3-pointers. Harden is one of them, joined by Stephen Curry (who did the same back-to-back feat in 2016), Klay Thompson and J.R. Smith.
Only four players have made that many 3-pointers two or more times in their careers, and Harden did it in back-to-back games. Imagine a baseball pitcher throwing back-to-back no-hitters, done only once in MLB history by Johnny Vander Meer, then consider that there are 35 players with multiple career no-hitters.
Harden is now averaging 39.3 points and 7.5 assists per game on 64 percent true shooting, which accounts for his enormous diet of 3-pointers and historic ability to get to the free throw line. That scoring average would go down as the third-highest in NBA history, only behind Wilt Chamberlain’s two most prolific seasons.
If he keeps this up, it’s hard to imagine what could stop him from winning MVP.
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