Russell Westbrook wants you to know there's nothing normal about James Harden's greatness
Westbrook on Harden, who's averaging 39.2 points this season: 'It's not normal because there's nobody else that can do it'
Last season, James Harden went on an absolute tear when he put up 30-plus points in 32 straight games. It's the second-longest streak of scoring 30 or more points in NBA history, and he did this while regularly putting up 40, and sometimes even 50. It was a master class in scoring, and it was remarkable to watch. He finished the season averaging 36.1 points, which is eighth all time for points per game. Apparently, the Houston Rockets star had room for improvement.
Harden's definitely found another tier to unlock 14 games into this season, as he's averaging a league-leading 39.2 points per game, which, if it holds throughout the season, would be third all time in points per game, sandwiched in between Wilt Chamberlain marks. If it feels like what Harden's doing isn't getting enough attention, it's probably because it's what we've come to expect from the scoring machine. To fellow Rockets teammate Russell Westbrook, that's a problem.
After the Rockets secured their eighth straight win in a 132-108 beating of the Portland Trail Blazers, where Harden put up 36 points on an efficient 57 percent from the field and 50 percent from beyond the arc, Westbrook spoke to reporters about Harden's current hot streak, where he's put up 40 points in three of the last five games.
"I think that a lot of people like to normalize greatness when you see it over and over again, but it's not normal because there's nobody else that can do it," Westbrook said. "If it was normal, everybody would do it. He's put himself in position to be one of the best offensive scorers of all time because of the way that he's able to score the ball at a high level in a variety of ways."
Westbrook isn't wrong here, and because Harden's scoring barrages are something we've come to expect from him, it does tend to lose its shine after a while. Westbrook might also be able to relate to the feeling of his accomplishments being underappreciated, after he averaged a triple-double for three straight seasons. In the first one, Westbrook was named league MVP, but the following two seasons, the conversation around his triple-doubles quickly turned into stat-padding, and that those numbers weren't helping his team win.
Harden, who has Stephen Curry poked fun at the fact, tends not to get the praise he deserves because of the way he plays. For the last five years, Harden has led the league in free-throw attempts, and currently leads the league this season with 203 through 14 games. Some people think Harden relies to heavily on trying to get foul calls to get his points at the line, while others call it crafty. There's been debate on whether or not and even
His game is very polarizing, but what cannot be denied is that Harden is one of the best offensive players the game has ever seen, and whether people want to admit it or not, what he's been doing for years is worth recognizing on a larger scale.
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