NBA world reacts to star’s historic outing
James Harden is one of the greatest scorers to have ever graced the NBA hardwood and he was at his explosive best on Sunday.
The Houston Rockets superstar single-handedly ripped the heart out of the Atlanta Hawks as he did as he pleased offensively through three quarters.
Harden went into halftime with 31 points to his name, but in the third quarter he turned the temperature all the way up and erupted for 29 points in the term to give him 60 as the Rockets held a 127-73 lead.
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The outburst put him in rare company as he joined Michael Jordan with his fourth 60 point game of his career, now sitting just two games behind Kobe Bryant in second place overall.
As he continued to pour on the points, he did it at an incredibly efficient rate by going 16-24 from the field, 8-14 from three and hitting 20-23 from the free throw line.
The 24 field goal attempts is the fewest ever in a 60-point game in NBA history, edging out the previous best set by Karl Malone who shot 21-26 from the field for 61 points.
"James Harden has been simply out of this world," one Houston Rockets commentator proclaimed.
The Beard (60 PTS & 8 3PM) was UNSTOPPABLE tonight! 💪 pic.twitter.com/DPzJafHMbe— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) December 1, 2019
The bearded star has somehow elevated his scoring from last season and is now averaging 38.89 points per game through the opening 19 games of the season.
Of the 10 highest scoring games so far in 2019, Harden owns an absurd eight out of the ten. Devin Booker and Damian Lillard are the only other names that appear on the list.
The ten highest-scoring games of 2019:— Tommy Beer (@TommyBeer) December 1, 2019
1. James Harden: 61
2. James Harden: 61
3. James Harden: 60
4. Damian Lillard: 60
5. Devin Booker: 59
6. James Harden: 59
7. James Harden: 58
8. James Harden: 58
9. James Harden: 57
10. James Harden: 57
His game has become a constant target for, but social media simply couldn't believe what they were seeing play out in front of their eyes.
The unbelievable display was just two points shy of Harden's all-time record and during the fourth quarter the superstar himself realised just how close he had come to eclipsing his own best … and his reaction was priceless.
James Harden had a night out in Houston 😮 pic.twitter.com/N2E2vNjjM6— ESPN Australia & NZ (@ESPNAusNZ) December 1, 2019
Houston currently sit at 13-6 on the season and lead the Southwest Division. They'll be back on the floor on Wednesday when they travel into San Antonio to take on the Spurs.
BEN SIMMONS DOES IT AGAIN
Three huge defensive plays from Ben Simmons in the final 14 seconds have played a significant role in Philadelphia 76ers maintaining their unbeaten home record this NBA season.
The Australian ace pulled off three of his four steals against Indiana Pacers in the dying moments as the 76ers closed out an exciting 119-116 victory. Simmons was a perfect 7-of-7 from the free-throw line to finish the game with 15 points, 13 assists and six rebounds.
Ben Simmons comes up clutch with back-to-back steals to win the game 🔒 pic.twitter.com/imItzl54N9— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 1, 2019
Although he managed to hit just four of his 3 shots from the field, Simmons' defensive display was first-class throughout and he highlighted that with his clutch plays with the game on the line.
"I love playing defence. It's such a priority for me, especially being a part of the Sixers. I'm in Philadelphia and guys want to see you play hard," Simmons said in a post-game on-court interview.
The Sixers (14-6) are one of only four teams with a perfect record at home and Simmons had a simple reason why they are now 9-0 at Wells Fargo Center.
"The fans. We don't want to lose in front of them. We are scared to lose in front of them." Joel Embiid had 32 points and 11 rebounds, hitting all 15 of his free throws, for his 12th double-double of the campaign while Tobias Harris scored 22 points for Philadelphia, who made it three in row.
TJ Warren led the Pacers scorers with 29 while Malcolm Brogdon added 28 for the Pacers (12-7), who lost for the first time in six games.
Trailing 114-113, Simmons stole the ball and set-up a driving Harris for a dunk with 9.9 seconds remaining as the Sixers went back ahead 115-114.
Simmons stole the ball again on the Pacers' next possession that led to Harris being fouled and making both free throws to give the Sixers a 117-114 cushion with 5.1 seconds left.
Ben Simmons on the inbounds steal:— Rich Hofmann (@rich_hofmann) December 1, 2019
“Just getting into his body so he can’t get separation.”
“If everybody on the back side does their job, it’s easier for me to make a play.”
“If Jo doesn’t give out that elbow pass or back-side pass, I’m able to get it.” pic.twitter.com/uU8znZwyCt
Brogdon hit two free throws with 3.8 seconds to go and the Pacers closed within 117-116 before Embiid was fouled one last time, making a pair of foul shots.
The Pacers long inbound pass was intercepted by Simmons near the free-throw line to close out the game.
- with AAP
James Harden is a wizard at scoring man Jesus— Cash ✌🏾HYPE (@CashNastyGaming) December 1, 2019
James Harden is the greatest scorer ever!— Long Money Lito (@YoungLito) December 1, 2019
If ANY OTHER player dropped 60, you would hear about it for a week. #NBATwitter is already hard at work trying to discredit this one.— The Dream Shake (@DreamShakeSBN) December 1, 2019
Don’t let that distract you. Appreciate James Harden. He’s the best offensive talent in NBA history. If they don’t see that, let them kick rocks.
60 points on 23 shots lol wtf james harden set the hawks on fire and then shoved into a grave filled with glass— Shea Serrano (@SheaSerrano) December 1, 2019