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Rockets’ James Harden tallies unique stat line in win over Suns

James Harden, Rockets, Suns

Houston Rockets guard James Harden has made a season out of posting unique stat lines. After re-writing history books with his scoring performances earlier this season, Harden was back at it again in a new manner during Friday’s win over the Phoenix Suns, collecting 41 points, 11 assists, nine rebounds, six steals, and three blocks. Per Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle, Harden becomes the first player since 1973-74 to log 30 points, 10 assists, five steals and three blocks in a single contest.

Harden has already had a season that will likely be remembered across basketball history for a myriad of reasons, so adding another gaudy line to his total is just another feather in his cap. For as great as he has been, he has seemingly been even better when the team is without Chris Paul, as it was Friday, forcing Harden to take his game to another level.

Through 65 games, Harden has averaged 36.1 points per contest. That mark would be the highest since Michael Jordan went for 37.1 in 1986-87 with the Chicago Bulls, and would be the seventh-highest total in league history. The only men ahead of him with better single-season averages would be Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain and Elgin Baylor (who averaged 38.3 PPG in 1961-62 across 48 games).

In addition to the MVP push that Harden is making, his team has been creeping up the Western Conference standings of late. Currently owning the No. 3 seed, Houston sits four games behind Golden State, whom they pushed to Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals last year, for the top spot.