James Harden has had some pretty impressive performances in his career. Last nights performance may have been the best of all as he totaled 56 points in a 137-110 win over the Utah Jazz.
This stellar performance was fueled by Harden knocking down nearly every shot from behind the arc. Going 19-25 from the field, Harden also added seven three pointers going 7-8 on the night from downtown.
“I was just shooting it, I don’t know,” Harden said. “I don’t really pay too much attention to it. I just try to take good shots and, like I said, pretty much make the right decision. Obviously, I’m going to make mistakes, but as long as I have that mindset, I’ll be good.”
Harden’s 56 points fell just one point short of the Houston Rockets single-game record set by Calvin Murphy’s 57 points.
“I’ve just got to be aggressive,” Harden said. “Be aggressive, good things happen, not just for myself but for my team. I was still able to dish off a couple of assists and get guys involved still. I’ve just got to have that mindset every single game.”
He wasted no time making his presence known as he totaled 22 points in the first quarter on 8-8 shooting.
This marks Harden’s sixth 50-plus point game of his career, all of which have come in the last four seasons.
“You can tell just by the bounce in his step and his 3s,” Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni said when asked when he knew Harden was destined for a phenomenal night. “The last two games, he’s just been going straight up and down. He’s pure. So even when he’s taking the shot, you can say, ‘This is probably in.’ He’s not drifting or anything. It just means he’s strong up and down, and his balance getting around people was ridiculous tonight.”
Harden, last year’s runner up in the MVP race, is making a strong case to take that accolade this year only a few weeks into the season.