James Harden, the future 2016-2017 NBA MVP, was busy having one of the greatest basketball games of all time while you were watching college football and celebrating New Year’s Eve. Harden had 53 points, 16 rebounds and 17 assists in a 129-122 Rockets win over the Knicks on Saturday night.
It was just the 23rd time a player had 40 or more points in a triple-double. (David Robinson did it twice with blocks instead of assists.) And it was just the second time a player had 50 or more points in a triple-double. (Russell Westbrook did it earlier this season.)
Harden made 14-of-26 field goals, 9-of-16 threes, 16-of-18 free throws and turned the ball over 8 times because, hey, nobody’s perfect.
That same night, Russell Westbrook had a ho-hum 17 point, 14 assists, 12 rebound game in a win over the Clippers. A solid effort. The Thunder trail the Rockets by 4.5 games in the Western Conference playoffs race.