James Harden lit the San Antonio Spurs for 61 points on Friday, reaching his career high and Houston Rockets' record in a 111-105 win.
Harden also scored 61 against the New York Knicks on January 23. He joins Wilt Chamberlain, Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan as the only player with several 60-point games in a season in NBA history.
The Spurs boldly shook their heads, while the Rockets' body language reflected awe. 19659002] Even Rockets coach Mike D & # 39; Antoni cocked his head, stopped for a second and stroked his chin during the Postgame press conference as he considered what he had just experienced.
Memphis, Harden has scored a total of 118 points over the past two matchdays and has tied Jordan and Bryant with the most points in the past 50 seasons over the last 50 seasons.
"I do not know how you feel better," said D & # 39; Antoni. "Anyone who went to the gym tonight was probably [saw] something they've never seen before, there's no way, it was one of the best performances ̵
San Antonio firsthand learned this from the start.
Despite this, the Spurs had an early storm in the first half of Harden, six seconds ahead, six seconds ahead, 47 seconds before the end, Harden said He should be "aggressive."
"We were down," he said.
D & # 39; Antoni said he was looking for "a place to hand me over. I felt terrible. "They knew that [the Spurs] would turn him over."
Harden took the lead in 3:58 minutes and set a Stepback 3 pointer from 26 yards to a run of 13 consecutive To start points. Harden scored three consecutive 3s and left Houston 2-0 to 103-100. Then he used a turnaround jumper before defending with Derrick White.
James Harden talks about his great performance against the Spurs and explains how he could look good.
"We lost one million points in the first quarter and they had 19 free throws in the first half and none in the third," said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. "You play with your heart and you also play between the ears, we played smarter and played harder in the second half, but against a good team like Houston or against another NBA team, that's not possible played two quarters, and in the end James made an MVP-like performance, so that's the one. "
Harden's 61 points were most against Spurs and Kyrie Irving 57 points (2015).  In the first quarter, Harden shot 7 out of 10 out of the field and 3 out of 4 from deep to score 27 points. Most Spurs have ever admitted a quarter under Popovich. In fact, Harden surpassed the Spurs in the first quarter when the Rockets led 36-24 into the second quarter.
Harden finished the first half with 37 points to reach another record half for the Spurs under Popovich. The previous mark of 2002 was eclipsed by Stephon Marbury (34 points).
Harden's 27 points in the opening quarter are among the most in a quarter of his career, and were most strongly represented by all players this season. D & # 39; Angelo Russell sat against the Sacramento Kings in the fourth quarter on March 19
Harden also hit 12 of 14 free throws in the first half and finished the night 14 of 17 of the series.
Most impressive was Harden, who even with Popovich made a series of tactics, from traps and zones to double teams.
"Some of the shots he hits today are remarkable," said Rockets Guard Gerald Green. "I've seen a lot of basketball in my life, played against many and his talent level is something I've never seen before, the only person who could probably guard him is the coaches and the referee. There's no one to stop him He's just one of those players who can fire at any time, he has no weaknesses, only he who can stop him is [D’Antoni] if he takes him out and the referees if they spot him, that's it. "
Harden is the first player with several 60-point games in a season since Bryant, who has made it to the 2005-06 season in the 2006-07 season as well as in the 2006-07 season. Before that, Jordan was the last to complete two 60-point games in one season (1986-87).
Asked if Harden's performance consolidated his reputation in the race for MVP, Punktwächter Chris Paul deadly smeared: "I mean, what else do you have to do? That was tough, that was crazy, I keep thinking about it Conversation that I had after his last play with Paul Pierce when I was at the Clippers, and the ability to appreciate the size Sheesh, that's tough, not only this achievement, but we also won it, we needed it . "
Harden downplayed the importance of his recent performance, which stood for his third career 60-point game.
"I just knew how important this game was," Harden said. "This was a 3-1 lead [series] in the regular season, so we gave up one last game, so it was an opportunity to take care of my home and I wanted to be aggressive."