James Harden scored 44 points last night and hit a game-winning three-pointer to lead the Houston Rockets to an exhilarating 135-134 overtime victory over the Golden State Warriors.
Harden finished the night with a triple double, including 15 assists and 10 rebounds. The reigning MVP is in the middle of the hottest scoring streak of his career. Harden’s run of five consecutive 40-point games has put him in an elite category with the likes of Wilt Chamberlin and Michael Jordan.
“I take my shots, I drive to the basket,” said Harden. “I shoot my step-backs with confidence and live with the results.”
The Rockets won their sixth game in a row and improved to 22-15 on the season. The Rockets won without starting point guard Chris Paul, who missed the game with a hamstring injury. Center Clint Capela added 29 points and 21 rebounds.
The Sick Comeback in Oakland
The Golden State Warriors jumped out to a 20-point lead. Klay Thompson finally shook off his shooting slump, while both Kevin Durant and Steph Curry got off to strong starts.
“You have a lead like that, you don’t lose at home,” said Steph Curry, who led the Warriors with 35 points.
The Rockets exploded for 39 points in the third quarter to get the game within six points.
Harden hit a clutch three pointer with less than a minute remaining in regulation to send the game into overtime.
“I don’t know where it ranks but I’m just happy to come away with the win,” Harden said. “I just had to go out and do my part on the highest level.”
With less than three seconds remaining in overtime and the Rockets down two points, Harden opted for the win. Harden drilled a game-winning trey, which silenced the crowd in Oakland.
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) January 4, 2019
Beard Blast Off
The Rockets are riding a six-game winning streak. Mike D’Antoni’s squad won 11 out of their last 12 games. After starting the season 4-7, the Rockets have been soaring with an 18-8 stretch.
After an ugly start, the Rockets quickly turned around their season and parted ways with Carmelo Anthony. As soon as they ghosted Melo, both Harden and the Rockets embarked on a heater for the ages.
According to the South Point Casino and Sports Book in Las Vegas, the Rockets are currently 12-1 odds to win the NBA championship. The Warriors are -150 favorites to three-peat as champs.
Coming into the game, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, James Harden was only the third player in the last three decades to score at least 400 points over a 10-game span. Kobe Bryant did it three times and Michael Jordan accomplished the rare feat twice.
Harden has scored 30 points or more in 11 straight games. During that span, Harden has scored 452 points. He is averaging 41.9 points during this heater. The Rockets are 10-1 during the streak with their sole loss in Miami shortly before Christmas.
Harden has only two 50-point games this season, including a 50-point outburst against LeBron James and the Lakers and 54 points in an OT loss to the Wizards.
For the season, Harden is averaging 33.6 points, 8.6 assists, and 5.9 rebounds per game.