None of Rockets star James Harden’s baskets in back-to-back 50-point games came from an assist
This statistic was observed by Mike Zavagno of Fear The Sword:
James Harden has scored 57 or more points in 2 consecutive games.
ZERO of his made shots in those two games were assisted.
Not a single one
— Mike Zavagno (@MZavagno11) January 17, 2019
It’s an appalling statistic at face value. When a player puts up almost 60 points, we could safely assume that he got a lot of help from his teammates. We could imply that a chunk of those baskets came from set plays by the coach or thru simple ball movement.
But reviewing the Rockets’ playstyle over the last few seasons would lead to a better understanding of why Harden’s baskets don’t come by way of an assist from his teammate. As for one, point guard Chris Paul has been out of the lineup since December 20. He’s the only pure point guard in the roster and even with him on the floor, Paul and Harden alternate point guard duties.
And in the last two games, Harden was 17-of-33 and 16-34 from the field, 6-of-15 and 5-of-19 from 3-point country, and 17-of-18 and 21-of-23 from the free throw line.
All of the Rockets’ offensive sets revolve around Harden. Mike D’Antoni has supreme confidence on the reigning MVP that he’ll make the right decision every single possession. It doesn’t bother him that Harden jacks up a ridiculous amount of 3-pointers per game. He knows that sooner or later, one of them will drop.
And when he drives to the hoop, he knows that Harden will find an open teammate or force the referees to blow the whistle because he’s that good at drawing fouls.