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EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Harden has night equalled by very few in history of the game

David Locke

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SUMMARY: James Harden put on a historic performance as the Houston Rockets blew out the Utah Jazz, 137-110.

  • Only one player has ever scored more points on 25 shots in NBA History than James Harden did tonight: Michael Jordan.

 

  • Only one player has ever had 50 points, 10 assist and shot better than 75%: Wilt Chamberlin.

 

  • Only one player has ever contributed more points to a game from points and assists than James Harden did tonight: Wilt Chamberlin (and James Harden once before)

 

  • Tonight’s performance has only been matched by the two greatest players to ever play the game.

 

  • Harden had 56 points and 13 assists. Nine of his 13 assists were for 3-point shots. Harden was directly responsible for 91 points.

 

  • James Harden was incredible. He scored in every way possible. He started off the night doing a lot of scoring in the midrange and in the paint, non-restricted area which is usually what you want to force him into. Then his confidence grew and he was unreal, driving to the rim around Gobert, making 3 after 3, even when they were contested.

 

  • Harden had 22 points on 8 for 8 shooting with four 3-pointers, two made free throws and four assists in the first quarter. All of those assists were for 3-point shots. He contributed 34 points in the first quarter alone.

 

  • By halftime, Harden was 10 of 12 for 30 points. He had made another 3 without a miss and two more free throws. He added three more assists for seven at the half.

 

  • By the end of three quarters, Harden had 54 points. He had 13 assists, nine of which became 3-point shots. Not a lot of players in NBA history have notched 54 points in three quarters of basketball, not to mention so efficiently (21 shots).

 

  • Harden scored 50 points on 20 shots, which had only been done one other time in NBA history.

  • Tonight was an example of the best offensive player in the NBA dominating a game at the highest level. People around the Rockets who have covered Harden for his entire run in Houston called tonight the best performance of his career.

 

  • What makes Harden impossible is his passing. If you put too much attention on trying to stop him then you give up threes.  If you try to eliminate the threes as the Jazz did last year in two wins against the Rockets you are susceptible to one of the greatest offensive players in the game putting on a show like he did tonight.

 

  • The Jazz had a few offensive stretches tonight where the ball stopped moving and they tried to play one-on-one. This was usually caused by the Rockets’ switching defense, but this team is not filled with one-on-one players.

 

  • Donovan Mitchell continues to wow people and was very solid tonight. The three best plays he made tonight in my mind were passes. He has very good vision and as he learns how to not turn the ball over and open up his passing, that will be more and more evident. We saw the Rockets double him off the pick and roll and this was the first time a team has done that. The next step in his progress will be seeing and attacking different defensive approaches. He is close to being the first name mentioned in a scouting report.

 

  • Derrick Favors made two 3-pointers — a first in his career for a single game.

 

  • Take out his first quarters and Rodney Hood is playing really well, but he can’t figure out how to get started. He is 4 of 19 in the first quarter all year for just 10 points. The rest of the game he is 37 of 82 for a solid 45%.

 

  • The Jazz played Thabo Sefolosha as the backup power forward tonight.

 

  • Tony Bradley got his first NBA time but didn’t get his first points.

 

  • This night is about Harden.

 

David Locke enters his ninth year as the radio play-by-play voice of the Utah Jazz, having spent the majority of his career in radio in Salt Lake City and Seattle. In the summer of 2016, Locke created the Locked on Podcast Network which has podcast daily bite sized podcasts for every NBA and NFL team. A native of Palo Alto, Calif., Locke graduated from Occidental College in Los Angeles with a degree in Political Science and Sociology. Locke and his wife have a son and a daughter.

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