James Harden delivered the best triple-double performance of the season on New Year’s Eve. He scored a career high of 53 points, tied a career high of 17 assists (eight assists on 3-pointers) and grabbed 16 rebounds. With points made and assists combined Harden was responsible for 95 points of the Houston Rockets 129 – 122 victory over the New York Knicks. If that wasn’t enough he capped off the night by making history as he became the first player to finish above the 50 point 15 Rebound 15 Assist stat line.
On his historic triple-double. “It feels good,” Harden said post-game. “But credit my teammates for knocking down shots and creating that opportunity and space for me to score and to be who I am.”
On his teammates. “This season, so far, has been unbelievable. The chemistry [and] the vibe around here really helps us to go out there on the court and just have fun with each other.”
On playing in an D’Antoni system. “It feels great he gives me so much freedom. Maybe a little too much. I’ve been turning over the basketball a little too much…but it happens. I try risky passes just to let my teammates know I’m going to throw you the ball. [This season] It’s been a dream so far.”
This season Harden has played not only with more freedom, but also with a great deal of finesse. As mentioned before his turnover numbers have risen a bit but it does come with the territory of creating opportunities for his teammates to score. His expertise was on full display as he schooled Justin Holiday on how critical discipline is when guarding him. He is a pro on quick releases and drawing fouls.
After a hard fought win over the Washington Wizards 101-91 the Rockets are now 27-9 and are ranked 3rd in the Western Conference.