It didn’t take James Harden long to notch yet another historic performance on Saturday night.
In fact, it took him less than 31 minutes.
Harden dropped 60 points in the first three quarters of the Houston Rockets’ 158-111 win against the Atlanta Hawks at the Toyota Center on Saturday, marking his fourth career 60-point game.
Only Wilt Chamberlain and Kobe Bryant have more.
"Still a work in progress but we're working to get there." 💯@JHarden13 discusses joining Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan & Wilt Chamberlain as the only players in @NBAHistory with 4+ 60-point games! pic.twitter.com/vnM64DzQTf— NBA (@NBA) December 1, 2019
“That’s greatness right there. Those guys are something that I’m trying to get to,” Harden said. “Hopefully when it’s all said and done, I can be mentioned in that group forever. Still a work in progress, but we’re working to get there.”
Harden shot 16-of-24 from the field and 8-of-14 from the 3-point line in the dominant outing. His 24 field goal attempts mark the fewest ever in a 60-point game, surpassing Karl Malone.
James Harden's 60 points came on 16-24 FG. Assuming he sits the whole fourth quarter, he will have the fewest field goal attempts ever in a 60-point performance. Previous: Karl Malone getting 61 on 21-26 FG, per @bball_ref.— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) December 1, 2019
Atlanta simply had no answer for him, either, and couldn’t keep up offensively whatsoever.
After taking a brief three-point lead in the first quarter, the Hawks fell fast. They finished the opening period with just 21 points, and soon found themselves in a massive 58-point hole near the end of the third quarter.
By that point, the game was long over. Harden, who added 20 of his 60 points from the free throw line, sat out the entire fourth quarter while the Rockets finalized the 47-point win.
Lloyd Pierce: "(James Harden) just didn't feel us. He didn't feel us with the doubles. He didn't feel us with the blitz. He didn't feel us with the extra defender running out at him." pic.twitter.com/IFN4UAVQsO— FOX Sports: Hawks (@HawksOnFSSE) December 1, 2019
“He just didn’t feel us. He didn’t feel us with the doubles. He didn’t feel us with the blitz. He didn’t feel us with the extra defender running out at him,” Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce said. “A lot of their guys have confidence ... It’s kind of who James is, and it was amplified tonight.”
Harden, who added eight assists and three rebounds on the night, was just one point away from tying his career high, too.
When you find out you’re 2pts away from your career high...😂 pic.twitter.com/Ooq3FxHlEf— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) December 1, 2019
Ben McLemore dropped 24 points and had a career-high 13 rebounds for Houston in the win. Russell Westbrook added 15 points, eight assists and eight rebounds.
Trae Young led the Hawks with an impressive offensive night of his own, finishing with 37 points and seven assists while shooting 10-of-16 from the field. De’Andre Hunter added 14 points, and Jabari Parker dropped 11.
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