The NBA announced that Houston Rockets guard James Harden has been named Western Conference Player of the Week for games played from Monday, Dec. 10 through Sunday, Dec. 16 (Week 9). It is Harden’s first Player of the Week award this season and the 19th of his career, all coming as a Rocket.
The Rockets were 3-0 for the week and outscored opponents by an average of 10.0 points per game. For the week, Harden averaged 37.0 points, 8.3 assists, 7.7 rebounds and 1.67 steals while shooting 54.1% from the floor, 39.3% from 3-point range, and 87.2% from the line.
After Houston trailed 54-51 at the half vs. Portland on Dec. 11, Harden scored 15 of his team-high 29 points in the third quarter to help the Rockets come away with the win. Against the Los Angeles Lakers on Dec. 13, Harden scored 31 of his 50 points in the second half while also recording a triple-double. Harden closed out the week with another triple-double with 32 points, a season-high 12 rebounds, and 10 assists at Memphis on Dec. 15.
Harden’s 50-point triple-double against the Lakers marked the fourth of his career, which is the most by any player in NBA history. He also joined Wilt Chamberlain as the only players with multiple 50-point games against the Lakers and Paul Pierce as the only players to have scored 50 points in a game against a team featuring LeBron James.
The reigning MVP is averaging a league-high 30.9 points while ranking tied for fifth in assists (8.3 apg) and tied for fifth in steals (2.04 spg). He is also averaging 5.8 rebounds. Michael Jordan (1988-89) is the only player to have averaged at least 30.0 ppg, 8.0 apg, 5.0 rpg, and 2.00 spg in a single season since steals became an official statistic in 1973-74.