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.
I asked Harden if he preferred the 40-10-10 or the two blocks on his buddy, DeRozan. Huge smile ensured. "Two blocks, for sure. Key plays."— Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) January 9, 2017
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.