The Houston Rockets knew going into Tuesday’s game it would be a challenge with several top players sidelined with injuries, none more so than James Harden. And what a night it was for Harden, one he could not have predicted in his wildest dreams.
Tuesday’s game saw Harden making history in the NBA when he scored sixty points to help the Rockets win 114-107 against the Orlando Magic.
“I just gave it all I had tonight, we all did. We all fought for 48 minutes, we got key stops when we needed to and we made big shots.”
The fourth quarter saw James Harden scoring eighteen points to push his game total to sixty and beating the 1978 record set by Calvin Murphy, a record he set playing for Houston. After the record was broken, cameras focused on Murphy, who is a television broadcaster, celebrating the occasion. Last night’s game also saw Harden credited with eleven assists and ten rebounds.
With only four minutes left in regulation play, the Rockets and Magic were tied after Marreese Speights scored for Orlando. As tension was high with two minutes left and the game still tied, Harden pulled off the win scoring six points to give the Rockets a lead of 113-107.
With forty-five seconds remaining, Mario Hezonia fouled Harden, and this gave him a free throw and the extra point needed to hit sixty points, and the Houston crowd leapt to their feet in celebration. The support for the Rockets with the hometown crowd was clear, and with sports bettors lining up to place bets as the season unfolds, after Tuesday’s performance, support will remain high for the Rockets.
Commenting on the play, Mike D’Antoni, coach of the Houston Rockets said,
“Amazing (and) topped it off with a four-point play at the end, but we had to have every minute from him.”
For Harden, he stole the ball four times and managed his tenth rebound of the game seconds later adding his third triple-double for the season. He was successful in scoring five three-pointers.
Harden, who was unaware that he was the first to score sixty points in a triple-double stated,
“It’s a good feeling, I guess. Just try to go out there and make an impact every single night on the game, however I can. Whether it’s scoring, rebounding, assists, steals, whatever it is. And tonight I guess I was doing everything.”
As for the Orlando Magic, who have lost three straight games, Marreese Speights and Mario Hezonja each scored seventeen points each for the Magic.
Houston was without Chris Paul due to an injury to his groin, and also was missing Trevor Ariza due to his hamstring injury. Eric Gordon, the Rockets second-leading scorer, has to leave the game during the second quarter as a result of stiffness in his lower back.
Commenting Harden said,
“I looked at coach and said: ‘Eric can’t go. He said go get ’em and after that I didn’t come out of the game.”
For Harden, the night’s success came as a result of his increased time on the court due to Gordon being unable to continue in the game. His total time on the court was over forty-six minutes, and for Harden, it was the longest he has played in a regulation game.
Speaking about Hardens court time, Marreese Speights said,
“I was shocked to see that, he didn’t really get subbed out and that shows the growth in his game and the maturity in his game.”
Harden has had a stellar season so far with three other games this season seeing him score 50 pointer nights. Tuesday’s performance set not only a team record but beat his personal best, which was fifty-six points in a game against the Utah Jazz.
Gerald Green commented that,
“I have never seen a performance like that. I caught myself just being a true fan throughout the whole game … what he did today was remarkable.”
Orlando came out strong and led the game for almost ten minutes until the Rockets came back strong taking the lead 101-97 with seven minutes left in regulation. Harden managed two three-pointers in the run that gave them the lead and had the crowd on its feet with his second three-pointer which he took as the clock was to expire, and as they say, the rest is history.