Houston Rockets star James Harden can score. We all know that. We’ve known it since his days as a sixth man for the Oklahoma City Thunder.
While he’s been a member of the Rockets, Harden has continued to show the world just how good he is. Just on Tuesday night, he put up 42 points in the 115-111 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers.
Harden is an MVP candidate this season, and many believe it is his award to lose. And his game is so unique that it’s difficult to really compare him to past MVPs. It’s almost like what he’s doing is unprecedented.
But there is one player that when you look one statistic, you can say Harden and that player have some parallels. That player is Shaquille O’Neal.
It may seem strange, but Harden and O’Neal actually have something in common when it comes to basketball. It’s not their size or strength or personalities, even. It’s how many times they have scored at least 40 points in their careers.
With Harden’s 42 on Tuesday, he matched O’Neal’s total of 49 career games with at least 40 points, per Basketball-Reference. That number is tied for 15th on the all-time list.
Harden’s scoring has been unleashed with the Rockets and under Mike D’Antoni’s system. It’s no surprise that after all these years, Harden would climb the ranks on this particular list.
Harden has also grown as a basketball player, and he learned to score more efficiently. Plus, he’s always been able to get himself to the free throw line multiple times per game.
Harden can pass O’Neal on the list with another 40-point game and tie his former teammate, Kevin Durant, who has 50 games of 40 or more points. When that happens — and it will — it’s bound to be quite a big story.