No matter what you think of James Harden’s game, you have to admit he’s an amazing offensive player. The defending MVP, the beard has been exceptional on the offensive end; carrying the limping Rockets to contention and setting franchise and NBA league records.
If you’re a knowledgeable NBA fan and were into sports betting on basketball coming into the 2018-19 season, then you knew that the Houston Rockets were one of the favorites to challenge the NBA throne that the Golden State Warriors have sat upon over the last handful of seasons. You knew that the Rockets were a Chris Paul-injury away last postseason from
Then the Rockets lost Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute in the off season and struggled out of the gate with a shocking 4-6 record. Head coach Mike D’Antoni called the Rockets offense “anemic”
“Really, our offense is anemic,” D’Antoni told ESPN “It’s bad. … I don’t know if we’re just sagging because we’re not believing in what we’re [doing]. I don’t know. We’ve got to find the answers. I can’t tell you today, ‘Oh yeah, it’s this,’ and we’ll solve it tomorrow. No, we’ve got to work through this and figure out what we need to do. But our offense right now is not very good.”
With Paul going out again last month with another leg injury and no timetable as to exactly when he’ll return, the Rockets looked like their struggles were going to only get worse. There was a lot of talk about them not even making the playoffs — and that wasn’t an exxageration either, the Rockets couldn’t align the ship through 25 games.
Harden Isolates Rockets, Making History
That’s when Harden stepped up and took his iso-game to another level In the last month, Harden has put up numbers for the history books. In wins and losses, luckily more of the former, Harden has now averaged over 40 points in his past 20 games — to be exact, he’s averaging 41.2 points per game. That puts him in a really exclusive list of Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor, Kobe Bryant, and Rick Barry as the only other players to average 40 points in at least a 20-game stretch. He’s easily leading the league in scoring at a 35.4 points per game clip.
Harden is the only other player besides Chamberlain score consecutive 55-point games — nearing his career high of 60 points. That’s pretty insane to think about. What else is insane to think about is that is Harden has scored all his field goals unassisted in his last two games. That’s 33 field goals in which he went essentially scored on an isolation or one-on-one (which he is known for). That in a nutshell is literally carrying a team offensively by oneself. Love his game or not, Harden has the Rockets on his shoulders and back to a more-than-respectable 25-19 record, right in the thick of the playoff race.