James Harden’s Wilt-like run of scoring is over.
The Rockets’ superstar saw his streak of consecutive 30-point games end at 32 on Monday after scoring “just” 28 in Houston’s 119-111 win against the Hawks. That would not have been the case had Harden not gone 0-for-10 on 3-pointers.
He’s glad it’s over, too — especially since he had no expectation of matching Wilt Chamberlain’s 65-game streak, the longest in NBA history. Harden’s stretch with 30 or more points ranks second.
”Yeah I am. It was cool but I knew I wasn’t going to get to No. 1,” Harden told reporters after the game on Monday.
Harden returned after missing Saturday’s win over Golden State with a neck injury and missed all 10 3-pointers he attempted.
”This was the first time I was able to move it since a few days,” he said. ”So it kind of felt good to go out there and just move it and run around. I hadn’t really done any movement or working out. I’ve been in bed really.”
He got to 28 points with 23.3 seconds left and had the ball on Houston’s last possession but did not attempt a shot from half court with the game in hand. When asked if the injury affected his shot he said: ”I don’t care. Made shots, missed shots, we won the game.”
Harden last came up short of 30 points in a Dec. 11 win over Portland, when he had 29. During the streak, he scored 50 or more points four times, including a career-high 61 in a win at the Knicks on Jan. 23.
”Eventually it was going to have to end one of these days,” coach Mike D’Antoni said. ”He’s unbelievable. He’ll start another one.”
The Rockets went 21-11 during Harden’s run, rising from outside the playoff picture to fifth in the West. The feat surpassed those of NBA legends, including Kobe Bryant, Elgin Baylor and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Harden is averaging 36.5 points per game, a clip that would be the highest since Michael Jordan in 1986-87.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.