Houston Rockets guard James Harden made some NBA history on Thursday night.
With his production in a 126-111 win over the Los Angeles Lakers (50 points, 10 rebounds, and 11 assists), Harden became the NBA's all-time leader in regular season 50-point triple-doubles, surpassing his former teammate, Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook, in the process (h/t ESPN Stats & Info).
Harden is now the leader of an extremely exclusive club, as only six players (Harden, Westbrook, Elgin Baylor, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Richie Guerin) have recorded 50-point triple doubles in NBA history, and only four have multiple 50-point triple-doubles (Harden, Westbrook, Baylor, Chamberlain).
Harden also joined Chamberlain as the only players in NBA history to post a 50-point triple-double against the Lakers. Harden remains the only player in NBA history with a 60-point triple-double. When asked about his frame of mind after his historic performance, Harden pointed to the fact that the Rockets aren't where they want to be in the standings.
Here are a couple more nuggets about Harden's historic performance:
- Harden's 26 field goal attempts ties his own record for fewest in a 50-point triple-double.
- Harden's 18 free throws tie Baylor for the most in a 50-point triple-double.
- Players with 50-point triple-doubles are now 12-1 in those games.
- Westbrook is the only player to post a 50-point triple-double in the postseason (his team lost the game to Harden's Rockets in 2017).
"Honestly we're in a hole right now," Harden said, via NBA on TNT. "We look at these standings and we're in the 14th spot and it's kind of depressing, but we gotta figure it out. We continue to fight our way through it. We've had injuries, a lot of new players, so we are just trying to figure it out.These last two games we're playing pretty well."
Despite their slow start to the season, Harden remains confident in his team.
"I just believe and trust in all my guys, and the coaching staff and organization," Harden said. "We'll continue to build, I have to continue to get better on both ends of the ball, and just get out there and play great."
While Harden downplayed his own accomplishment, his partner in Houston's backcourt was extremely impressed.
"That's crazy," Chris Paul said of Harden's 50-point performance. "I've never had a teammate that's capable of doing that. That's why he's the reigning MVP ... You got to catch yourself, don't get caught watching ... We needed it tonight."
One third of the way through the '18-19 season, Harden leads the league with 30 points per game, and the Rockets will continue to need ethereal performances from him if they hope to climb back into the playoff picture in the hyper-competitive Western Conference.