James Harden closed out January with an amazing feat; he recorded the highest scoring triple double the NBA has seen.
Harden scored 60 points to go along with his 10 rebounds and 11 assists while leading his Houston Rockets to a win against the Orlando Magic, 14-107, on January 31, Philippine time. The 60 points were the highest ever scored when recording a triple double.
How just how impressive his feat was?
Firstly, he was very efficient from the floor in recording the 60 points. He took 30 shots from the floor and made 19 of them for a 63.3% shooting accuracy. He was 5 of 14 from three point line (35.7%). He was 17 of 18 from the free throw line for a 94.4% shooting form.
While he did took half of his shots beyond the arc, 13 of them also came from point-blank range where he only missed one attempt. He did add four steals and a block to his night. He committed only five turnovers.
His team was up by seven points in the 46-plus minutes on the floor. And his team won.
The Rockets were missing Chris Paul and Trevor Ariza for this game. Eric Gordon who played only 10 minutes before bowing out for the remainder of the game due to back stiffness.
It is the highest scoring output of Harden in his career. It was also the ninth time that he’s past 50 in his career, the fourth this season. He scored 56 against the Utah Jazz last November in a game they won. He dropped 51 each against the Los Angeles teams last December, but losing both games.
Incidentally, the 60 points became also the highest scoring output by a Rocket in a game. It broke Calvin Murphy’s 57-point output on March 18, 1978 against the then New Jersey Nets. Murphy’s previous record would have turned 40 years old this year had Harden not broke it.
The 60 points is also the highest point total of any player this season, breaking Lebron James’ 57.
The previous highest scoring triple double was held by Russell Westbrook. Westbrook recorded 57 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists in a 114-106 win against the Magic on March 29, 2017.
Westbrook added three steals and eight turnovers in the mix. He was 21 of 40 from the field (52.5% accuracy), including 6 of 15 from trey (40%), and 9 of 11 from the line (81.8%).
The Thunder were a +8 while Westbrook was on the floor and they won the game.
I was impressed with Harden’s feat.
It is true that Mike D’Antoni’ s system urges the Rockets to outscore their opponents, thus, inflating their players’ stats.
But the D’Antoni system wasn’t the issue this night.
For one, Harden’s teammates shot only 42.55%, converting 20 of 47 shots. They were 8 of 24 from three point land, almost same as Harden’s. It’s a bad proposition to continue feeding them the ball when all they do is bungling a lot of mid-range jumpers and lay-ups.
Harden had no choice than to put the team on his back in this game. They were badly missing key pieces on the floor. Just look at the others who had more than 10 attempts, Clint Capela (6 of 14) and Gerald Green (4 of 11). Harden was their only real threat.
Harden did carry his team this night. He also did it taking just 30 shots! His teammates took 47, so he wasn’t hogging the ball here.
I was not the Harden we saw against the San Antonio Spurs in the playoffs last year. The one who just took 11 shots and lost the game.
On a last note, will there be other teams wanting to take on the Orlando Magic, who defensively, would seemingly like to let the opposing main guy get triple doubles and loss the game at the same time?
If I were the Magic’s coach, I would send a double team on Harden the entire night and let the other Rockets beat my team. The Rockets were an 8-man team this night. Doubling Harden and tiring him out is a really good option.
If I get beaten with Harden taking just 11 shots, I can live with that. Just not getting beaten with Harden going off an impressive historic triple double like this one.
BY: ARMANDO M. BOLISLIS.