Shooting 20-of-34 from the field, and 10-of-18 from 3, Harden erupted for 55 points to lead the Rockets to a 116-110 win over a surprisingly feisty Cavaliers team. At this point, it barely even registers when Harden goes for 50-plus, but this one was special.
For one, Harden only needed five free throws to get to 55 points, which is an incredible feat for any player, but especially one who averages over a dozen free throws a game. Harden has made a living at the line in his career, so much so that it's become a source of frustration for opposing players, let alone opposing fans.
That he could get to 55 points with the fewest free throws he's made in a game all season is a reminder of his unique scoring abilities. The only player in NBA history with more points in a game while attempting five or fewer free throws is Ricky Barry, one of the best to ever do it.
Succeeding without getting to the free throw line was just one aspect of Harden's history making night, however. With his big night against the Cavs, Harden has now scored 50-plus points against 15 different franchises. The only two players who have done it against more teams are Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan.
This was Harden's fourth 50-point game already this season, and the 10th time he's scored at least 40 points; the Rockets have only played 24 games. For the season, he's now up to a whopping 38.7 points per game, which is almost eight points higher than Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is second in the league at 30.9 points.
If he keeps playing like this, perhaps reaching the mythical 40 points per game mark isn't out of the question after all.