James Harden is in the midst of quite a stretch right now, putting himself with some elite company. For the second consecutive game, Harden scored 51 points, making him the first player with back-to-back 50 point games since Kobe Bryant had four straight in 2007.
Unfortunately for Harden, one of his greatest accomplishments is being, at least, slightly tarnished by the lack of wins for the Houston Rockets. Harden’s first 50-pointer came in a 122-116 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. Friday night’s outburst came in a 128-118 loss to the L.A. Clippers.
Despite the final score, Harden deserves much recognition for what he has done. The only other players to do this since 2000 are Kobe, Allen Iverson, and Antawn Jamison. Harden’s league-leading scoring average is now up to 32.5, nearly three points ahead of second-place Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Many will remember Kobe’s streak in March 2007 as an offensive outburst that hadn’t been seen since the Wilt Chamberlain days.
Kobe ripped off a four-game stretch of 65, 50, 60, and 50 points. That’s right, Kobe Bryant’s four-game 50 point streak included two 60 point outings. It’s also worth noting that the Lakers, previously having lost seven straight games, won all four of these contests.
Even the night Kobe’s streak ended, when he scored a mere 43 points, the Lakers won their fifth consecutive game.
If Harden were to extend his 50 point streak to three games, he would join even more rarified air. The only players to have such a streak are Kobe, Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor, and Michael Jordan. Kobe and Wilt are the only two with four straight.
Joining that club seems unlikely for Harden however as the Rockets’ next two games are on the road against the Oklahoma City Thunder and Boston Celtics, both of whom rank in the top-three in defensive rating in the NBA.
Nonetheless, many will be watching to see if Harden can overcome the odds and make history.
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