Russell Westbrook on James Harden: Don't normalize his greatness

James Harden has been playing like a man possessed. He’s been putting up otherworldly numbers for the Houston Rockets, and in the process has helped the team to an 11-3 record and an eight-game winning streak.

Harden’s teammate Russell Westbrook is in awe of Harden, just like the rest of us, but he doesn’t want anyone to think what he’s doing is normal. After the Rockets’ 132-108 win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday night, he told the media that he doesn’t want anyone to forget that what Harden is doing is exceptional, even if it’s starting to become routine.

"I think that a lot of people like to normalize greatness when you see it over and over again, but it's not normal because there's nobody else that can do it. If it was normal, everybody would do it. He's put himself in position to be one of the best offensive scorers of all time because of the way that he's able to score the ball at a high level in a variety of ways."

What Harden is doing is far, far from normal. He’s scored at least 35 points in each and every victory during the Rockets’ eight-game winning streak. Over the 14 games the Rockets have played this season, Harden is averaging 39.2 points per game —a rate that hasn’t been seen in almost 60 years, since Wilt Chamberlain was at his dominating best.

At that rate, Harden’s on pace to lead the league in scoring for the third straight year — and he’s making it look so, so easy. Here’s a little taste of Harden while he was in the process of decimating the Blazers on Monday night.

Even with just 14 games down and many left to play, Harden has planted his flag on the lawn of the MVP discussion. He’s been denied the NBA’s top honor for the last two years, but he’s already making the case for why that should not happen a third time.

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