James Harden Named Western Conference Player of the Week
HOUSTON – Today, the NBA announced that Houston Rockets guard James Harden has been named Western Conference Player of the Week for games played from Monday, March 18 through Sunday, March 24 (Week 22). It is Harden’s fourth Player of the Week award of the season and the 22nd of his career, all coming as a Rocket.
The Rockets were 3-1 for the week, with Harden averaging 44.3 points while shooting 50.0% from the floor, 52.8% from 3-point range and 90.7% from the line. He scored a total of 177 points in 145 minutes of play for the week and is close to averaging a point per minute played this season (2,545 points in 2,604 minutes played). Since minutes were tracked in 1951-52, Wilt Chamberlain (1961-62) is the only player to have played more than 50 minutes in a season while averaging a point per minute.
Harden opened the week with 31 points at Atlanta on March 19, making him the first player to have scored at least 30 points against each of the opposing 29 teams in a single season since the NBA expanded to 30 teams in 2004-05.
The following night at Memphis, Harden posted 57 points, 8 assists, 7 rebounds, 2 steals, and 2 blocks. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he became the first player to post those numbers in a single game since steals and blocks became official statistics in 1973-74.
Harden followed up his 57-point game against the Grizzlies by scoring a career-high tying 61 points vs. San Antonio on March 22. According to Elias, the 118 points tied for the highest two-game total by a player over the past 50 seasons. It marked the second time this season, and the third time in his career, that Harden has scored 50-plus points in consecutive games. Chamberlain is the only other player in NBA history with more than two streaks of scoring 50-plus points.
Last night at New Orleans, Harden scored a game-high 28 points in three quarters of play to help clinch a playoff spot for the Rockets. Houston has made the playoffs in each of Harden’s seven seasons as a Rocket, tying for the longest streak in franchise history.
Overall this season, Harden is averaging 36.4 points, 7.5 assists, 6.4 rebounds, and 2.17 steals. He is on pace to become the first player in NBA history to have averaged at least 35.0 ppg and 7.0 apg in a single season. Over a span of 40 games played from Dec. 8 through March 8, Harden averaged 40.1 points, 7.1 assists, and 7.0 rebounds while leading the Rockets to a 28-12 mark despite being without Chris Paul for 17 games and Clint Capela for 14 games.
The Rockets own the NBA’s best winning percentage post All-Star break (.824; 14-3 mark). Houston is one of six teams with at least 47 wins this season and has a record of 8-4 against the other five teams on that list (Denver, Golden State, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, and Toronto).