Rockets’ James Harden credits his hard work after joining Wilt Chamberlain in record books
James Harden joined basketball royalty on Martin Luther King Jr. Day by scoring 37 points in three quarters in a loss against the Philadelphia 76ers, making it his 20th straight game with 30 or more points and joining Wilt Chamberlain as the only two players to have reached that streak.
Following a 28-point loss on the road, Harden said being in the conversation with Chamberlain is a “credit to the work that I put in,” according to ESPN’s Tim Bontemps.
“Wilt was doing some obviously unbelievable things and numbers that nobody will ever catch,” said Harden, who finished with 37 points despite sitting the entire fourth quarter as the Rockets were run out of Wells Fargo Center. “Just to be in the same conversation as those guys is just credit to the work I put in. That’s what you play this game for, to be listed with those guys, those top players.
“Obviously, I got a long way to go, but this is a pretty cool beginning.”
Harden is undoubtedly going through the best stretch of his career, scoring at an unprecedented pace by means of the modern NBA, doing everything possible to keep his team afloat in the absence of two of their main pillars in Chris Paul and Clint Capela.
What makes it all the more remarkable is that all of his points are self-generated, coming unassisted by means of isolation play — really carrying every pound of the burden on his broad shoulders.
“I mean, he’s incredible, he really is,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said. “I can’t tell you, I’ve run out of words… my vocabulary’s not that extensive.
“I think if the game would’ve been close, he would’ve had 50 or 60 tonight. And that’s just how he is. He’s incredible… I don’t see any end in sight.
“I know there will be, but I don’t see it happening.”
James Harden boasts the highest scoring average (35.7 points per game) since Michael Jordan won the scoring title with a scorching 37.1 points-per-game average in his third season in the league in 1986-87.
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