Houston Rockets superstar James Harden is coming off arguably the best offensive performance of his career against the Utah Jazz. He put up a career-high 56 points on an incredible 19-of-25 shooting from the field, 7-of-8 on three-pointers, and 11-of-12 from the line while even adding 13 assists.
On the heels of that virtuoso performance, Rockets teammate Trevor Ariza boldly proclaimed that no defense in the league can contain Harden.
“I don’t think there’s any defense for him. Period.” – Trevor Ariza on James Harden. #Rockets
— Alykhan Bijani (@Rockets_Insider) November 6, 2017
It’s hard to argue against Ariza, especially after Harden almost singlehandedly destroyed a Jazz defense which had previously been one of the very best in the league prior to that game.
Harden’s sheer offensive excellence is hardly a flash in the pan, either. He’s been one of the elite scorers in the NBA since landing in Houston in 2012. He’s averaged 29 points in each of the last two years, and is putting up 29.5 points this season, scoring at least 20 in all 11 games thus far.
No team has yet been able to solve Harden’s uncanny ability to get to the free-throw line almost at will, and his three-point shooting is also formidable.
Some of Harden’s playoff performances rightly deserve some scrutiny, but in terms of the regular season, there just hasn’t been a defense that has consistently been able to slow Harden down.