Another night, another signature game for James Harden's MVP résumé. The Rockets guard put up a 51-point, 13-rebound, 13-assist triple double in a 123-118 victory over the Sixers on Friday night. It was Harden's second 50-point triple-double of the season, making him the first player, ever, to have multiple 50-point triple-doubles in one season.
Along with Russell Westbrook's 51-point triple-double in October, that's now three 50-point triple-doubles in one season, when there hadn't been any since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1973. The MVP race this season continues to just amaze.
This wasn't an empty performance, either. The Sixers have been a good, tough team lately, and they had actually closed the gap to five in the closing minutes Friday. Harden legitimately needed that production to secure the win. These performances are meaningful. The Rockets are now 12-3 when Harden has a triple-double; the Thunder are 18-5 when Westbrook does the same.
The performance overshadowed a 32-point, seven-rebound, four-assist performance from Joel Embiid in just 28 minutes. It seems like every night is one superstar's huge game vs. another's. Harden's efficiency continues to thrive as well; he shot 16 of 28 from the field.
Every night Harden has what seems like an MVP-defining game, Westbrook answers with one of his own (Sunday at the Cavaliers should be fun). Every time it seems like Westbrook might have taken the lead back, Harden does something remarkable. It makes you wonder.... when was the last time we had an MVP race this good?