Now in his 10th NBA season, Harden couldn't be stopped in notching a triple-double in the 113-101 win over the Memphis Grizzlies at Toyota Center as he went for 43 points, 13 assists, and 10 rebounds, knocking down 21 free-throw attempts (out of 27 total) along the way.
That New Years Ever performance allowed him to become the only Rockets player to ever hit the 40-point mark in four consecutive games, according to StatMuse's Justin Kubatko.
What Harden has been doing has simply been incredible at this point, and that's helped the Rockets become one of the hottest teams in the NBA are struggling early on this season.
Harden is averaging 33.3 points, 8.4 assists, and 5.8 rebounds per game and, even against quality defenders, he's finding a variety of ways to score. Though high free-throw totals are often a criticized part of his game, Harden continued to prove that he's the best player in the league at drawing contact against the Grizzlies, with Memphis — a strong defensive group — having no answer for his ability to draw contact in the lane.
Rockets head coach Mike D'Antonio commented after the game that Harden was the clear leader in the NBA MVP race, and it's impossible to argue that at this point in the season.
That should set the Rockets up for success moving forward and they'll return to the court on Thursday night to take on the Golden State Warriors in a rematch of the Western Conference Finals.
Houston won the previous meeting between the two teams back on Nov. 15, as Harden led the way with 27 points.
After the matchup at Oracle Arena, the Rockets will prepare for another road test against the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday.