Harden unreal in comeback win vs. Thunder
James Harden went for a career-high 46 points in a win over his former team on Wednesday night.
Harden also added eight rebounds, six assists, and seven three-pointers as the Rockets defeated the Thunder 122-119. It's a performance that left at least one of his teammates speechless, especially on a night when the team was trying to cope with the news of playing without four traded comrades.
"Forty-six points, career high, on 19 shots, I don't even know what to say, man," Jeremy Lin said. "That's crazy."
"(There were) a lot of distractions before the game," Harden said. "But I just rallied the guys together and told them to focus on every play. It's going to be a tough game for us. We've got to really focus on the small detail things that were on the scouting report. And the guys did a phenomenal job."
Harden started the game with a bang. More accurately, he hit four threes in the first quarter.
"I put up some extra shots last night (Tuesday)," Harden said. "That kind of helped me out with my confidence a little bit, to get it going early. Not really trying to force it, but get my teammates involved, and everything else was on the up and up."
"James was just phenomenal," Kevin McHale said. "That's as efficient a game as you can have in the NBA as a two guard. You can't get any more efficient than that.
"He's a phenomenal offensive force. He can drive it. He's got the ability to shoot it. He's got the ability to beat you off the bounce. I think he's almost un-guardable off the catch. When he catches and goes, his first step is so deceptively fast and strong. When he plays off the catch, I just think he's as good it gets."
Harden became the third NBA player over the last 30 years to score 45 or more points against their team from the previous season. When asked if the game was a message to his former team, Harden said that wasn't the case: he tries to send a message every night against every team.
On Wednesday, that message was loud and clear. Harden, alongside strong efforts by Lin and Chandler Parsons, led the decisive fourth-quarter surge that gave the Rockets the comeback win.