James Harden is the 2017-18 NBA MVP, and there was never really a doubt about it.
After missing out on the award last year, Harden established himself early as the front-runner for this year’s highest individual honor. He never looked back as he guided the Houston Rockets to the best record in the NBA.
The Beard led the league in regular-season scoring with 30.1 points per game and was third in assists with an 8.8 average. Put simply, he was out of this world last campaign.
Now with the six-time All-Star claiming the NBA MVP, we take a look at some of his best performances that cemented his status as the league’s best player.
If every MVP has his crowning glory in the regular season, this is probably James Harden’s.
Harden made NBA history with his 60 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists against the Orlando Magic last January, becoming the first player ever to achieve the feat. He shot a ridiculous 19-of-30 from the field and even had four steals!
Besides making his own 60-point triple-double club, the 28-year-old guard also broke the franchise record for the most points in a single game. Sorry, Calvin Murphy!
Of course, Houston won the game.
Career-high 56 points vs the Jazz
Before his 60-point explosion, Harden set a career-high 56 points against the Utah Jazz… of all teams!
Known for their elite defense led by this year’s Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert, the Jazz were expected to make life hard for Harden. However, that was not the case as the Beard torched Utah and poked holes all over their wall.
More amazingly, Harden finished with 19-of-25 shooting—including 7-of-8 from three—to become the first NBAer since Michael Jordan to score that many points on 25 or fewer shots!
Oh, and did I mention that Harden also dished out 13 assists in the game?
Back-to-back 51-point games
Scoring 51 points is one thing, doing it in two straight games is another.
It was probably an early Christmas gift from Harden when he recorded back-to-back 51 points against the Los Angeles Lakers and the LA Clippers a few days before Christmas.
Harden shot above 50 percent from the field in both of those game, though the H-Town team failed to win the two matches.
Interestingly, Harden became only the second player in 11 years to score 50-plus points in consecutive matches. The other one? Kobe Bryant who bagged 50 or more points in four straight games in 2007.