James Harden is surely going through the best stretch of his career at the moment, one he capped with undoubtedly his best claim for his MVP candidacy, positing a 44-point, 15-assist, 10-rebound triple-double laced with an overtime game-winning shot against the Golden State Warriors. According to new teammate Austin Rivers, even Stephen Curry was in awe of Harden’s in-game heroics:
“His confidence in himself is inspiring, really,” said Rivers, according to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon. “Everybody else just feeds off of it. I mean, even Steph [Curry] during the game was like, ‘Dude, what he’s doing right now is crazy.’ Dudes know what he’s doing is legendary.”
Harden had a relatively poor shooting night overall, making only 13 of his 32 attempts in the game, but it was his insistence in shooting 3s that eventually catapulted the Rockets to catch up to the Warriors after trailing by as many as 20 points in the game.
The Beard was 10-of-23 from deep, with his 10th 3-point bomb coming by way of a masterful long-range attempt to win it all, despite being crowded by Draymond Green and Klay Thompson, giving the Rockets a one-point lead with a second left in the extra period.
While some like Richard Jefferson had resisted the idea of putting Harden among MVP candidates, this performance has surely erased any point of contention, as he’s scoring at a scorching pace and leading his team from the penultimate spot in the West to fourth — making him plenty most valuable to notch the award for a second consecutive year.