We all know that James Harden is a scoring machine, but it’s scarce to see a team that’s completely helpless in stopping him, and that just happened on Saturday night.
James scored a season-high 60 points in just 31 minutes, and the Houston Rockets sent the struggling Hawks to their 10th straight loss with a 158-111 romping. This effort from Harden would join Klay Thompson and Kobe Bryant as the only players in the past 25 seasons to hit 60 points in just three quarters.
Atlanta tried nearly every defensive scheme to slow him down, which included several double teams and traps throughout the night. But Harden had a crystal ball handy and exploited every flaw in their defense. This game wasn’t a ‘machine-gun’ approach that we usually see from Harden. He was super efficient, shooting 16-of-24 from the field, 8-of-14 from 3-point range, and 20-23 from the free-throw line. His 24 shot attempts are the fewest ever in a 60-point game in NBA history.
But the Hawks game plan to shut-down Harden wasn’t a bad one. That same approach worked against the Mavericks and the Clippers. But the Hawks currently hold the second-worst defensive rating (114.7) in the NBA. Meaning, they needed to do a lot more than just double teams and traps to stop him. Additional to that, have you noticed Harden’s scoring rating keeps going up each year he exists in the NBA? It seems like Harden is daring teams to throw the kitchen sink at him. Harden could be considered the most dangerous offensive player in NBA history, and we’re not even close to seeing the end result in what Harden can do.
Catch you Thursday.