Two-time should- been MVP James Harden proved the NBA adage — superstars matter — by dispatching the Utah Jazz and their elite defense in Houston’s 137-110 win. The total was a season high for the Rockets.
Tonight The Beard scored a career high 56, just missing the Rockets franchise record of 57 points, held by current broadcaster Calvin Murphy.
Before tonight’s blowout, Utah had surrendered only 96 points per game, the league’s second-best mark. Harden had 56 points and created 91 points by himself which is the third-highest total in NBA history:
James Harden scored or assisted on 91 points on Sunday, the third-highest total in an NBA game pic.twitter.com/4Kmms4eFUH— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) November 6, 2017
In past seasons, the Jazz have given Houston fits while being one of the league’s best at preventing three pointers. Houston shot 23 of 39 from deep for 59 percent tonight.
A little rest and a return home was a recipe for greatness for Harden. He had 22 points in the first quarter and 52 through three quarters. He didn’t miss a basket in the first quarter, going 8-for-8, and didn’t miss a three-pointer until the third quarter, on his eighth attempt.
Behind Harden’s offensive explosion, the game was a rout. Houston’s 18-point halftime lead continued to balloon, reaching more than 30 points in the fourth quarter.
Harden came close to beating Murphy’s mark, but missed three straight attempts in the fourth quarter searching for the record. Coach Mike D’Antoni pulled Harden after his third miss as the All-Star had logged 17 consecutive second half minutes and the Rockets led by a mountain.
Clint Capela was a beast alongside Harden, pulling down 8 rebounds and logging 8 blocks, including a third quarter rejection on his childhood hero, Rudy Gobert. Eric Gordon chipped in 20 and Zhou Qi got on the court during the blowout and scored 4 points.
During the first quarter, the Houston Astros brought the World Series trophy to show off to the fans. Lifting the hardware was A.J. Hinch, Jake Marisnick, Mike Fiers, Lance McCullers Jr. and Dallas Keuchel
The Rockets first shot for charity was hoisted by Olympic hero and legendary Houstonian Simone Biles, who appears to be the most delightful person in history.