Posting ridiculous stat lines has become routine for James Harden this season. In a year where the Houston Rockets' star has been doing things that have never been done on the court before, Harden just entered the record books right alongside Shaquille O'Neal, Michael Jordan, and Karl Malone.
Harden had 61 points, four assists, and 15 rebounds in Houston's 114-110 win against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. In doing so, Harden became the first player with a 60-point, 15-rebound game since Shaq did it in 2000.
James Harden is the first player with 60 pts and 15 reb in a game since Shaquille O'Neal back in 2000. In the 3-point era, only 4 players have had 60+ pts and 15+ reb games: Karl Malone, Michael Jordan, Shaquille O'Neal and James Harden.#Rockets #NBA #NBATwitter pic.twitter.com/iT2iJKMIJu
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) January 24, 2019
Referring to a “Garden Moment,” Harden said, “I’m still looking for it,” Tuesday at Baruch College in Manhattan, according to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. Safe to say Harden had his, falling just one point short of Carmelo Anthony's record 62-point effort against the Charlotte Hornets—tying Kobe Bryant's 61 in 2009.
James Harden's effort is made all the more impressive—or irritating depending on who you ask— by the fact that he hit 17 of his 38 attempts from the floor, including just five of 20 threes. But, he hit 22 of his 25 free-throw attempts.
Shaquille O'Neal reached 60 points and 15 rebounds in a more traditional way against the L.A Clippers on March 6, 2000. The Big Aristotle actually had 23 rebounds in the game and made 24 out of 35 attempts to go with 13 made free throws in 23 attempts.
With Chris Paul and Clint Capela both going down with injuries this season, Harden has had to shoulder an unusually large load to keep Houston afloat. With tonight's win, the Rockets are 26-20, which is good for the fifth seed in the West.