James Harden, Eric Gordon combine for 2nd most points by starting backcourt since 1970-71
Though they were defeated in overtime, Houston Rockets teammates James Harden and Eric Gordon pulled off a historic feat in Monday night’s game against the Washington Wizards.
Harden, who was named the NBA’s MVP last season, racked up a whopping 54 points against the Wizards. Gordon added 36. Both totals were season-highs.
Together, Harden and Gordon shot a combined 52.7 percent from the field. According to Justin Kubatko of Statmuse, their 90 points were the second-highest total by a starting backcourt since stats were first recorded.
James Harden and Eric Gordon combined for 90 points last night, the second-highest total by a starting backcourt since starts were first recorded in 1970-71:
94 – Kobe Bryant (81) & Smush Parker (13)
90 – Harden (54) & Gordon (36)
88 – Isiah Thomas (47) & John Long (41)
— Justin Kubatko (@jkubatko) November 27, 2018
Harden, who went 7-of-15 from downtown and 13-of-15 from the charity stripe, gave the Wizards all they could handle on the perimeter. In fact, the former No. 3 overall pick posted 31 of his points in the second half alone, and he totaled 13 assists.
“I tried to be aggressive with Chris (Paul) out,” Harden told ESPN after Monday’s game. “At the same time, I tried to get guys involved and get guys in position to score.”
The only starting backcourt to score more than Harden and Gordon did on Monday was Los Angeles Lakers teammates Kobe Bryant and Smush Parker. Their feat came in a game against the Toronto Raptors on Jan. 22, 2006. Parker had 13, while Bryant racked up a career-high 81.
“We tried everything on Harden,” Wizards head coach Scott Brooks told ESPN. “We absolutely tried to take it out of his hands early, take it out of it late. Keep our hands out of his shooting pocket. We tried the switch; we tried the show. He was playing at a high, high, high level, and his step-back 3s [were on].”
The Rockets (9-10 and 4th in the Southwest Division standings) will be back in action on Wednesday night, when they’ll serve as hosts to the Dallas Mavericks. Tip-off inside the Toyota Center is set for 8:00 p.m. EST.
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