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Harden moves past Bryant with 17th straight 30-point game

James Harden’s historic scoring streak is soaring to new heights.

Entering the second half of the Rockets’ matchup with the Grizzlies, Harden had scored 36 points, giving him 17 straight games with 30 or more points. That surpassed Kobe Bryant’s streak of 16 consecutive 30-point games, achieved in 2003.

“The Beard” finished with 57 points in the Rockets’ 112-94 victory and was virtually unstoppable. He shot 17-of-33 from the field and 17-of-18 from the free throw line. He was 6-of-15 from long distance. His point total was higher than the combined points — 53 — scored by the Grizzlies starters.

The 30-plus streak is the NBA’s longest since Wilt Chamberlain strung together 20 such performances in 1964. Elgin Baylor scored 30 or more in 18 straight games from December 1961 to October 1962.

Remarkably, Chamberlain also had three other streaks, according to Elias Sports Bureau: a jaw-dropping 65 games of 30 or more from November 1961 to February 1962; 31 games of 30 or more from February 1961 to December 1962; and 25 games from November 1960 to December 1960.

Over his last 17 games, Harden has recorded 702 points and 157 assists. Per Elias Sports Bureau, he joins Chamberlain and Bryant as the only players in NBA history to score 700 or more points over a 17-game span in a single season.

In addition to the streak, Harden’s 36 set a career high for a first half and tied his career high for either half. It tied Klay Thompson for the most points in a half this season.

The 57 was the second-highest point total for a game in Rockets’ franchise history. The record is owned by, you guessed it, Harden with 60 points on Jan. 30th of last year versus the Magic.

The reigning MVP has scored 40 or more 14 times this season, and he’s topped 50 points three times this season. Since the 2014-15 season, Harden has 12 games of 50 or more points — the most in the NBA.

On Sunday night, Harden finished with 38 points as the Magic rallied for a 116-109 victory over the Rockets.

Harden was just 1-for-17 on 3-point attempts in that game. He did get fouled three times shooting from beyond the arc and was 9 for 9 from the free throw line on those occasions (15 of 16 overall), but it was never enough to give the Rockets a comfortable advantage.

Harden made his first two 3-pointers on Monday night to quickly outdo his 3-point shooting from Sunday and finished 6-of-15. It’s the 13th time in the last 14 games that he’s made t least five 3-pointers after his NBA-record streak of 12 straight ended with his poor shooting performance against the Magic

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.