When a player scores 61 points, it is a historic night, for both him and his franchise. When James Harden does that, it is just an ordinary day at work for the Houston Rockets guard. Tonight we saw him doing that, while his Knicks won in Madison Square Garden with 114-110.
He set his new career-high, pushing the limits once again this season, and also tying the best scoring record for a visiting player here in Madison. The other guy who reached this figure was Kobe Bryant.
James Harden finishes an historic night at the Garden with authority 🚀 pic.twitter.com/pPhkEMn7R7
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) January 24, 2019
After the game, Harden told that Garden is one of the most important places in the league, which is why he had an extra motivation on top of everything.
“Yeah, this is one of the historic buildings in the sport that we have, and the fans are one of the best that we have in this league. So I was pretty cool to come out here and just put a show for them” the Beard spoke at a post-game interview in the hall.
He ended the match shooting 17 of 38 from the field, hitting only 5 three-pointers from 20 tries, but being excellent from the line, 22 of 25. Plus, grabbed 15 boards and had five steals.
It was his fourth 50+ points game this season.
With 34.9 seconds until the end, Knicks took over the lead, 107-108 after Mudiay’s two free throws. Harden responded with the same measure, but Alonzo Trier made a layup to lift the hosts once again. It was then Eric Gordon who sealed the fate of the Knicks, burying a three with 9.8 seconds to go and stealing the ball from Noah Vonleh.
Harden dunked to put an end to this exciting match and reach Kobe for a place in history.
Again his free throws were the reason for a bit of controversy. David Fizdale was ejected with 1:08 to go, when the game was on the line. He was mad for another foul called on Houston’s superstar, which is why he earned another technical foul.
“I don’t know why I was ejected,” Knicks coach told after the match.
When asked about the possibility of Harden being officiated differently, Fizdale, just said that it is up to all the journalists to decide that.
The Beard had five free throws fewer than the entire home team.
MSG chanting "MVP" for Harden
Meanwhile Fiz just got ejected pic.twitter.com/6J7gVPOqze
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 24, 2019
Still, Fizdale praised the reigning MVP of the league saying that he is a great player.
“I just felt that every time the ball is in his hands, is got a chance to go in. That is greatness. The guy is a great player.”
There is also one other way of seeing Harden’s greatness and importance to his team. While he was on the court, everything was going according to the plan for the guests. But as soon as he went to rest for a couple of minutes during the final period, the Knicks’ melted a 10-point lead Houston had and were back in the game.
Right after the contest, a reporter asked him did he change the standards for himself lately. Harden gave an interesting answer, saying that he just needs to keep going because his legacy is at stake and that he doesn’t see any boundaries for him at the moment.
“Yeah, I got to keep going, I got to keep going. It’s my legacy at stake man… there’s no limits what I can do”
61 PTS | 15 REB
— NBA (@NBA) January 24, 2019
The victory against the Knicks is already archived, and the Rockets are turned towards another challenges. The first one is already this Friday against the Raptors at Toyota Center. After that, they have two more contests at home, against the Orlando Magic and the New Orleans Pelicans, which opens up a possibility for catching some wins, and moving up the table, getting ahead of Portland and even OKC.
With Harden in this mood, it shouldn’t be a problem at all.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.