James Harden is unarguably one of the greatest scorers in NBA history, but his Houston Rockets teammate Austin Rivers is tired of people not appreciating the greatness in front of them.
Harden exploded for 60 points in the Rockets’ Saturday showdown with the Atlanta Hawks, tying Michael Jordan’s record for the third-most 60-point games in NBA history. Only Kobe Bryant and Wilt Chamberlain have more of such performances in their respective careers.
After their win, Rivers criticized basketball fans in general for playing down the significance of Harden’s scoring exploits. While it’s normal for the 2017-18 NBA MVP to hit such numbers, Rivers emphasized that doing so in a daily basis is no easy feat.
Austin Rivers: "You do anything night after night people … grow unappreciative of it. The world, or basketball fans, are very unappreciative of James’ scoring. What he’s doing has not been seen. My man had 60 and didn’t play in the fourth quarter.”
— Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) December 1, 2019
Sure enough, Harden is one of best scorers of all time; however, he is often criticized by the way how he gets his points. For what it’s worth, while Harden led the league in scoring in 2018-19 with 36.1 markers per game, almost a quarter of his points came from the free throw line.
It’s the same case this season, as Harden was averaging 12.1 free throws made prior to their meeting with the Hawks. Against Atlanta, 20 of his 60 points came from the charity stripe.
However, as Rivers said it, that’s not enough reason to discredit his game. After all, Harden’s craftiness and ability to draw fouls is one of his best offensive skills.