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James Harden matches Larry Bird with total career 40-point games

Houston Rockets guard James Harden has etched his name alongside Boston Celtics legend Larry Bird in the NBA’s history books.

In Houston’s 119-114 win over the Denver Nuggets on Sunday, Harden played 37 minutes, racking up 41 points on 11-20 shooting from the field (6-10 from beyond the arc), eight rebounds, seven assists, and one steal. It was Harden’s 47th career game with 40 or more points, which ties Bird’s total, according to basketball-reference.com.

Harden and Bird are now tied for the 16th spot on the NBA’s 40-point games list, just behind Kevin Durant and Shaquille O’Neal, who each have 49 such games to their credit.

Thanks in large part to Harden’s outstanding play (40 points or more on nine occasions this season), the Rockets have managed to rattle off 12 straight wins.

Via ESPN.com:

“The Rockets are 21-4 since Dec. 29 and own the best record (46-13) in the NBA. They are outscoring teams by an average of 12.5 points during the 12-game winning streak. The five-point win Sunday was their closest game during the streak, although Houston was up big early in the fourth.”

In his 52 games played for Houston this season, the former No. 3 overall pick (2009) has turned in averages of 31.5 points (league-high) on 44.7 percent shooting from the field (38.6 percent from beyond the arc), 9.0 assists, and 5.1 rebounds — all while converting on 86.6 percent of his attempts at the charity stripe.

The Rockets, now an NBA-best 46-13 overall, will look to keep their momentum rolling on Monday night, as they’re scheduled face the Utah Jazz inside the Vivint Smart Home Arena. Tip-off is set for 9:00 p.m. with ATTSN-RM, ATTSN-SW and NBA League Pass having live broadcast coverage.