LOS ANGELES, USA – James Harden took his high-scoring act to Madison Square Garden where he dazzled his way to a season-high 61 points as the Houston Rockets edged the hapless New York Knicks, 114-110, in the NBA on Wednesday, January 23 (Thursday, January 24, Manila time)
"Every time I come to the Garden I got to put on a show. They expect it and that is what I gave them," said Harden.
Harden is scoring at a pace the NBA hasn't seen since the heyday of Wilt Chamberlain, as he stretched his streak of scoring 30-plus points to 21 games. He is making anything seem possible, earning his third 50-plus point game – while racking up 261 points – in his last 5 contests.
Chamberlain owns the longest streak of 30-plus point outings, a mammoth 65-game run during the 1961-62 season. Chamberlain still has two other 30-plus scoring streaks that are longer than Harden's of 31 and 25 games.
61 PTS | 15 REB James Harden is the first player to record at least 60 PTS/15 REB in a game since Shaquille O'Neal on March 6, 2000! #Rockets pic.twitter.com/5cvdU3LvxB — NBA (@NBA) January 24, 2019
Harden tied Kobe Bryant for the most points ever by an opponent at the fabled Garden and he is second all-time to former Knick Carmelo Anthony's 62 points in 2014.
"I got to keep going," Harden said. "My legacy is at stake. Basketball is something I love doing. There is no limit to what I can do."
Harden helped salt the game away for the Rockets with 3 seconds left by grabbing a loose ball and going in for a soaring dunk to cap the scoring.
He also had 15 rebounds, shot 17-of-38 from the floor and drained 22-of-25 free throws. He was just 5-of-20 from beyond the arc.
"With most of the guys injured we have to play defense and create offense off our defense. In the 1st half we didn't do it, in the 2nd half did and we won," said Harden.
STEAL. JAMES HARDEN DUNK. @HoustonRockets W. With 61 PTS, The Beard ties Kobe Bryant for the most points scored at the current MSG by an opponent. #Rockets pic.twitter.com/sx21CVlraL — NBA (@NBA) January 24, 2019
Rookie Allonzo Trier scored a season-high 31 points for the lowly Knicks, who kept it tight at the end but lost their seventh straight game.
Their coach David Fizdale was ejected with 68 seconds to go when he earned his second technical foul of the night.
Coming into the game, the lowly Knicks were allowing 115.7 points per game, the third-highest figure in the league.
Harden's best previous game at the Garden was 36 points but he had that by halftime. – Rappler.com