Believe it or not, James Harden made key defensive plays to go with a triple-double

Leading the Houston Rockets all the way back from a double-digit deficit against the Toronto Raptors on Sunday, James Harden was simply sensational. Harden recorded his 10th triple-double of the season, finishing the game with 40 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds. With a 129-122 victory, Houston has won eight straight, the longest active winning streak in the league.

But despite his gaudy individual stat line, Harden was more proud of his defense, which included taking a key charge in the fourth quarter and blocking a superb offensive player in DeMar DeRozan twice.

Here's a look at Harden's charge and one of his blocks on DeRozan:

Harden has been ridiculed for his effort on the defensive end for a large portion of his career; defense has been viewed as his primary weakness. Yet when keyed in, Harden is a fine defender, as he showed against the Raptors. And with Harden playing defense while continuing to be brilliant on offense, it's no wonder he is a leading candidate to win the MVP award this season.

CBS Sports Writer

Ananth Pandian has been writing about all NBA-related things including the social and lifestyle aspect of the sport for CBS Sports since 2015. His name is actually easy to pronounce, just remember it is... Full Bio

Our Latest Stories