James Harden’s historic streak of scoring at least 30 points was on the ropes, but he managed to extend it to 25 games Friday night. Barely.
With just over a minute to play in the Houston Rockets’ blowout road loss to the Denver Nuggets, Harden nailed an acrobatic 3-pointer that landed him at exactly 30 points for the game. While having little impact on the contest, Harden’s basket pulled him into a tie with the legendary Wilt Chamberlain for the third-longest streak of 30-point games in NBA history.
It should be noted that Chamberlain is also first and second on the list, the former being a record 65-game streak in the Hall of Famer’s legendary 1961-62 season.
Harden finished Friday’s game 9-for-21 from the field, including 7-of-14 from 3-point range. He surprisingly missed four free throws on nine attempts.
While Harden still got his 30 points, it was a tough game for the Rockets (29-22). In a battle of top Western Conference contenders, the Nuggets (36-15) shot a blistering 62 percent from the field in running away to a 136-122 victory. Harden’s historic run was outshined by Denver big man Nikola Jokic, who fell just shy of a triple-double with a 31-13-9 line and was greeted by chants of “MVP” from the hometown crowd late in the game.
The reigning MVP Harden entered Friday’s game averaging 36.3 points per game. Should he keep that pace the rest of the season, Harden will have the highest scoring average since Michael Jordan dropped an astounding 37.1 points per game in 1986-87.