It wasn't an easy stroll for the reigning MVP. In fact, Harden came close to missing the contest against the Mavericks, as he was apparently dealing with a shoulder issue the day before:
James Harden on the shoulder: "“I was getting treatment after the game last game, all day yesterday, today. Just been icing it and do the proper work I need to do to go out and play. I couldn’t get the lift I usually get on my shot. But that's no excuse. I'm just happy we won."
— Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) February 12, 2019
But James Harden chose to play it out after going through a a ton of treatment on the bothersome shoulder. Head coach Mike D'Antoni doesn't know anymore what it would take for his franchise star to take the night off:
Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said he thought James Harden was bothered by sore left shoulder vs. Mavericks.
What would it take to stop him from playing? D’Antoni: “I don’t know, an elephant gun or something.”
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) February 12, 2019
Harden's choice to play through the shoulder issue almost put his historic feat in jeopardy. It seemed like the streak would come to an end as he was two points shy of 30 with just over 50 seconds remaining. Still, the seven-time All-Star managed to pull it off after knocking down a 3-pointer over Dorian Finney-Smith.
James Harden finished the night with 31 points, going 9-of-23 from the field and 7-of-7 from the free-throw line. Despite not getting much lift on his shot, the reigning MVP still managed to hoist up 17 3-pointers, making six. Harden added eight rebounds, seven assists, and five steals to cap off his all-around performance.
With the streak alive and kicking, Harden gets the chance to tie Wilt Chamberlain for the second-longest streak of 30-point games. The late Hall of Famer, however, still holds the record with a whopping 65.
With James Harden experiencing some nagging injuries at this point, it might make sense for the 29-year-old to take a night off from time to time. He'll need to preserve his energy and make sure he stays healthy as Houston gets ready for another run at the NBA championship.