About Last Night

About Last Night: Harden lights up MSG with career-high 61

Oladipo suffers serious knee injury, Jazz-Nuggets scuffle leads to ejections, epic video bomb

A day after saying he hadn’t yet experienced his Madison Square Garden moment, James Harden etched his name in MSG lore with a career-high 61 points in the Rockets’ 114-110 victory over the Knicks.

Harden capped the night with a breakaway dunk in the final seconds that sealed the game and tied Kobe Bryant’s record for most points by a visiting opponent at the current Madison Square Garden.

Harden finished 17-of-38 from the floor. He was only 5-of-20 from 3-point range but was 22-of-25 from the line. All 61 points were unassisted.

“In the Garden, I’ll take it,” Harden said.

Most Points at Madison Square Garden (Since 1968)

  • 62 — Carmelo Anthony, Knicks | Jan. 24, 2014
  • 61 — Kobe Bryant, Lakers | Feb. 2, 2009
  • 61 — James Harden, Rockets | Jan. 23, 2019
  • 60 — Bernard King, Knicks | Dec. 25, 1984
  • 55 — Michael Jordan | March 28, 1995
  • 55 — Bernard King, Knicks | Feb. 16, 1985
  • 54 — Stephen Curry | Feb. 27, 2013
  • 52 — LeBron James | Feb. 4, 2009

Other mind-boggling stats from Harden’s latest eruption:

– Harden reached 30 points for the 21st consecutive game … with three minutes left in the first half

– Harden has scored 261 consecutive unassisted points over the past five games, during which he has averaged 52.2 points

– Harden joins Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant as only players with five 50-point games in a single season since the 1976 NBA/ABA merger

– First player in NBA history to attempt 20 3-pointers and 20 free throws

– First player with 60 points and 15 rebounds in a game since Shaquille O’Neal in 2000

– First player with three 55-point games in a calendar month since Wilt Chamberlain in 1963

Programming note: Rockets vs. Knicks re-airs Jan. 24 on NBA TV at 3:30 p.m. ET

Oladipo suffers serious knee injury

The Indiana Pacers lost All-Star guard Victor Oladipo to a right knee injury during their game against the Raptors, and the team fears the injury could be season-ending, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Oladipo’s leg bent awkwardly as he fell to the floor while trying to disrupt an outlet pass to Pascal Siakam. Trainers placed a towel over the leg, and players from both teams surrounded Oladipo. Fans gave him a standing ovation as he was carted off the floor on a stretcher.

The team announced Oladipo will undergo an MRI on Thursday.

Reaction to the injury poured in quickly across social media, with Paul George and LeBron James among the first to express support for Oladipo.

Jazz, Nuggets play the feud

Donovan Mitchell scored 35 points and made a season-high six 3-pointers to lead the Jazz past the Nuggets 114-108 in a game that may receive further attention from the league office.

The game got heated early when Utah’s Derrick Favors and Denver’s Mason Plumlee were both ejected with 2:46 left in the first quarter. The two shoved each either under the Nuggets basket, leading to more shoving from multiple players on both teams. Favors and Plumlee each received a technical foul, as did Utah’s Royce O’Neale and Denver’s Will Barton for pushing and shoving in the scrum.

Nikola Jokic came off the bench and down the baseline, but didn’t get involved. And that’s probably a good thing, according to Jae Crowder.

Kanter to Knicks: ‘Get me out of here’

Enes Kanter’s struggles to reconcile his playing time with his expectations might have come to a head after the Knicks’ 114-110 loss to the Rockets.

Kanter was one of four Knicks who didn’t make it onto the floor; per reports out of New York, Kanter claims to have been told he was starting earlier in the day during a team meeting.

During postgame media availability, Kanter made clear his position: “I want to play basketball. If you’re going to play me here, play me. If not, get me out of here.”

Timing is everything

After escaping New Orleans with a 98-94 victory, Blake Griffin was not happy with how the Pistons played down the stretch.

“Our lack of focus at the end of games has been awful,” Griffin said. “And that’s why we lose games like this.”

Moments later, Reggie Jackson picked the absolute worst (or perhaps the best?) time to crash the interview.

Blast from the past

Dwyane Wade has been swapping jerseys with current players as a part of his farewell tour, but he made an exception when he heard former teammate Jason Williams was going to be in the building.

Affectionately known as “White Chocolate,” Williams played for the Kings and Grizzlies before taking his slick handles to Miami for their championship 2005-06 season. Williams retired after the 2010-11 campaign.

“When I got the call he was going to be here, and he wanted to exchange jerseys, I was happy it was the ‘White Chocolate’ one,” Wade said.

Quote of the night

“He’s full of (expletive). That’s why I got rid of him. Kiss-(expletive).”

— Gregg Popovich, on Sixers coach Brett Brown saying Pop’s the greatest coach in NBA history