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James Harden is no stranger to piling up big numbers on the hardwood, but what he did Tuesday night was historic.
Harden scored 60 points as part of a triple-double in the leading the Rockets to a 114-107 conquest of the visiting Orlando Magic.
Scoring 60 points as part of a triple-double — adding 10 boards and 11 dimes — is the first time it’s ever happened in an NBA game. He also added four steals and, just for good measure, blocked a shot in
C’mon @JHarden13!!! Now that’s insane G! 60 point Triple Dub. Sheesh!!! ?????
— LeBron James (@KingJames) January 31, 2018
“I just gave it all I had tonight,” Harden said. “We all did. We all fought for 48 minutes, we got key stops when we needed to and we made big shots.”
Houston was shorthanded for the game. Chris Paul (groin) and Trevor Ariza (hamstring) didn’t play. Then, Eric Gordon, the Rockets’ second-leading scorer (19.5 points per game) departed the game early in the second quarter with lower back stiffness and did not return.
“I looked at Coach and said, ‘Eric can’t go,”’ Harden said. “He said go get ’em. And after that, I didn’t come out of the game.”
Harden, who played 46 minutes, 26 seconds out of a possible 48 minutes, was 19 of 30 from the field and made five 3-pointers.
James Harden finished with 60 points, 11 assists, and 10 rebounds tonight. His teammates combined for 54 points and 6 assists in the win. pic.twitter.com/AwgIsEz3UU
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 31, 2018
His four-point play, coming on a made 3-pointer while being fouled by Orlando’s Mario Hezonja, capped his 60-point eruption.
“Amazing, [and] topped it off with a four-point play at the end,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said. “But we had to have every minute from him.”
James Harden dropped his 60th point on a step-back 4-point play ?? pic.twitter.com/ep3VblqKxS
— Dime (@DimeUPROXX) January 31, 2018
His 18-point fourth quarter helped him to surpass Houston’s single-game scoring record, surpassing Calvin Murphy’s 57-point game in 1978. In-arena cameras showed a shot of Murphy, part of the Rockets’ television broadcasts, smiling and clapping for Harden.
— Calvin Murphy (@CalvinMurphyHOF) January 31, 2018
Harden said he was not aware he became the first player with a triple-double that featured 60 points.
“It’s a good feeling, I guess,” he said. “(I) just try to go out there and make an impact every single night on the game, however I can. Whether it’s scoring, rebounding, assists, steals, whatever it is.
“And tonight, I guess I was doing everything.”