The Houston Rockets are the league’s most prodigious 3-point shooting team ever, and they continued to set new records in their final home game of the season on Sunday.
Less than a week after shattering their own single-season 3-point record, the Rockets broke their own single-game record with 27 threes in a 149-113 win over the Phoenix Suns.
Houston hit 22 threes in the first three quarters — including nine in the third quarter alone — before guard Austin Rivers hit the record-breaking shot with 1:09 left in the game.
Eight different Rockets hit 3-pointers, as the team finished 27-for-57 (47.4 percent) from beyond the arc. Of course, they were able to make so many shots because their 57 attempts is tied for the 11th-most in any game.
Shooting guard Eric Gordon led the way for the Rockets with eight threes, while James Harden added five on an efficient six shots. Others included P.J. Tucker (4), Danuel House Jr. (3), Chris Paul (2), Rivers (2), Gary Clark (2) and Iman Shumpert (1).
The Rockets previously set the single-game 3-point record in December to pass the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 2017 record. They similarly had a close call at the end, when they needed Michael Carter-Williams' shot with 31.1 seconds left.
Why are teams hitting so many 3-pointers?
The NBA has totally embraced the 3-pointer, with teams breaking the record for most threes in a season each of the past seven years. And of course, no team shoots more than the Rockets.
Houston has the three highest amount of 3-pointers made in a season in the last three years. They take 45.3 threes per game, which is seven more than any other team. No other club takes a majority of their shots from beyond the arc.
Still, the 3-point revolution is alive and well outside of Houston too. Six of the 11 teams to hit 1,000 threes in a campaign are from the 2018-19 season, and the Dallas Mavericks and Toronto Raptors will join them after their next game.
James Harden continues his ridiculous season
Leading the way for the Rockets, as always, was Harden, who finished just shy of a triple-double with 30 points, 13 rebounds, 9 assists and 2 steals. The well-rounded performance led Harden to pass a couple milestones of his own as well.
Harden joined Michael Jordan as the only players to ever total 2,700 points, 500 rebounds and 500 assists in a season. Harden already has more points (2,779 vs. 2753) and assists (583 vs. 519) than MJ, although he can’t surpass the rebounding total (507 vs. 565) in the last game of the year.
Harden also reached 30 points for the 56th time, which ties Kobe Bryant’s 2005-06 mark for most 30 point games in a season in the last 30 years. He’ll have a chance to pass that mark on Tuesday against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Although the milestones have fairly arbitrary endpoints, they underscore Harden’s excellent case to earn a second-straight MVP. If not for Giannis Antetokounmpo nearly averaging 28-13-6 on the league’s only 60-win club, he’d be the runaway favorite.
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