James Harden is putting together one of the best seasons in NBA history, and he is on track to win his first NBA MVP award after being thrown in second place for the past two years. James Harden is also on pace to make history unlike anyone has ever seen. Harden is replete with excellent 3-point shooting, scoring prowess, playmaking, rebounding, and his leadership has grown in the past few years. With the NBA season coming to the climax, Harden just may be able to break some solid NBA records on his way to a possible NBA MVP.
Here are five NBA records that Harden will break by the end of the 2017-18 season, and how he will do so moving forward.
5. Most 50-point triple doubles
James Harden has posted a 50-point triple double last season, but he has yet to do so now. Who says that can't change? The current record for 50-point triple doubles is just three, and it's held by Russell Westbrook, who set the record last year. This is honestly surprising considering that Westbrook didn't get more 50-point triple doubles. However, this is great news for Harden who is trying to build his case for the league MVP. Russell Westbrook made history last year as the second player to average a triple double for the entire NBA season. When that was accomplished, it simply nailed the coffin closed on who the MVP would be. Harden never stood a chance, even though he had an excellent season.
Now, the tables have turned in his favor. Harden has proved that he can post triple doubles with ease, and he has scored 50 points in two games last week. This record is bound to be broken soon, and when it does it can give Harden the edge he needs to secure the MVP voting.
4. Most free throw attempts in the 4th
Earlier in the season, Ben Simmons set the record for most free throw attempts in the 4th quarter with 29 tries. Easier said than done, right? James Harden is currently averaging 10.9 free throw attempts per game this season. This record is definitely in reach for Harden who has shown over the course of his career that he can draw fouls. In fact, Harden's play style makes him able to break this record in any ordinary game. Harden's usual on court display features him dribbling into his opponents, driving into the paint or shooting over them to gain easy foul calls.
To make things better for him, this record is for most free throw attempts in the 4th quarter. With the game on the line, Harden could get more than 29 free throw attempts. As the Rockets try to fight for positioning, they are bound to get more close games than they would like. This will effectively set the stage for Harden to get to the line and win tight games the smart way. With 10.9 free throw attempts per game, Harden obviously knows how to get to the line. Therefore, breaking this record will only be a matter of time for the Beard.
3. Most points in a quarter
Remember when Klay Thompson torched his way to a spectacular 37-point performance in the third quarter? He proved what a Splash Brother can do when he gets hot. Although this was an incredible feat by Thompson, this record is far from impossible to break. Harden is leading the league in points, scoring 32.5 points per game and shooting 39% from the three point line. Harden is a scoring shooting guard that has the ability to put points on the board in bunches from threes, clever drives to the basket, and free throws. With the Houston Rockets' offense, and Chris Paul's position as the starting point guard, there is an opportunity for Harden to surpass Thompson's record.
While Harden is not the shooter that Thompson is, he can score in ways that Thompson can't. Harden is an excellent finisher and a tremendous free throw shooter. In the right setting, Harden can catch fire and break Thompson's record, especially if the Rockets' offense is clicking. Still, scoring 37 points in a quarter is a herculean effort for anyone. Harden may have enough to get it done and make his case as the NBA's undisputed MVP.
2. Most points in overtime
In 2006, Gilbert Arenas scored an amazing 16 points in overtime, setting an NBA record. It's hard to believe that this record hasn't been broken since, but it will change this season. The Houston Rockets rely on Harden as their main scorer. Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson are great shooters, but Harden runs the show in Houston. If the Rockets should find themselves in an extended overtime game, this record will be broken. Here is why: Agent Zero and Harden are two different players, but both are established scorers with a knack at putting up bunches of points.
We haven't seen the Rockets get into an intense game that spilled into more than a second overtime period, but as the NBA schedule heats up, we will down the road. If so, count on the Rockets to set up plays for James Harden to thrive. He can shoot threes in the Rockets' system, and he can get to the line. Therefore, if the Rockets manage to have the game of the year, they will do so with Harden breaking an NBA record.
1. Most consecutive 50 point games
It stands to reason that any record set by Wilt Chamberlain will never be broken as long as the NBA continues. Chamberlain was a freak athlete that played in an era that is totally different than the NBA today. However, it's shocking that Chamberlain has recorded only seven consecutive 50 point games. There should have been more. In any case, it may not seem impossible for Harden to break this record now that he has scored 50 points in consecutive games already this season.
Given the right circumstances and momentum, Harden will break this record. When he does, this and the other records will be enough to solidify Harden as the NBA's MVP. James Harden will have a job on his hands getting this done, but expect him to intensify his play as the season moves on.