Oops, He Did It Again
So, James Harden scored 60 points in 31 minutes against the Atlanta Hawks Saturday night. I’m beginning to wonder if we’re even taking a moment to truly admire his accomplishments. Look at this:
The ten highest-scoring games of 2019:
1. James Harden: 61
2. James Harden: 61
3. James Harden: 60
4. Damian Lillard: 60
5. Devin Booker: 59
6. James Harden: 59
7. James Harden: 58
8. James Harden: 58
9. James Harden: 57
10. James Harden: 57
It’s very clear to me we are witnessing something truly special with James Harden. The numbers he is putting up are simply incredible. It is a testament to his talent fans and the media have almost become apathetic about it.
In fact, Saturday night’s fireworks were a blip on the sports news scene as the day was dominated by a number of Rivalry Week showdowns, including an unforgettable Iron Bowl between Auburn and Alabama.
It’s all good, Harden doesn’t hold a grudge. We have another month or so before the country turns its attention to the NBA. Don’t be surprised if he goes for 50+ a couple more times before then.
The Great Experiment
A little more than a month into the season, it’s clear we can call the Great Experiment combining James Harden and Russell Westbrook a success. Going into this season, there were serious concerns around the league about how they would adjust their playing styles on the court.
Some were drooling over the prospect of opening a column about the Rockets with, “Houston, you have a problem.” Fortunately, James and Russ haven’t given them much to gripe about.
Harden is averaging 38.9 points a game, and has a legitimate chance to average 40 points a game over the course of a season. If anything, playing with Westbrook has made him better. And I LOVE watching Westbrook on the court for the Rockets. He brings a tenacity Rockets fans haven’t seen since the days of Vernon “Mad Max” Maxwell.
Now, things aren’t perfect. There have been some lapses. Westbrook’s shooting has been a liability for a team whose success is dependent on knocking down 3’s with abandon.
The good news is they still have time and plent of room to improve. Eric Gordon has been sidelined with a knee injury, and will likely be out until the New Year. His return will give the Rockets another proven shooter. A shooter that would have been invaluable in a road loss to the LA Clippers.
All in all, I feel we can be very optimistic going into the rest of the 2019-2020 season. It’s also time to prepare for a renewed rivalry with the Dallas Mavericks. More on that next week.
Oh, How the Mighty Have Fallen
While I am loathe to celebrate an injury of any player. I must admit I am relishing the current state of the Golden State Warriors. They are flailing with a very un-Warriorlike record of 4-17 dealing with a spate of injuries that can only be described as a Greek tragedy.
I wish them a speedy recovery. The NBA isn’t the same without them, and any Rockets playoff run will feel hollow if the Dubs aren’t vanquished on the road to a championship.
Besides, it would REALLY suck for the rest of the league if they land the #1 pick in next year’s draft a la the San Antonio Spurs when they drafted Tim Duncan. It might not be too early to start watching the college ranks for the prospective #1.