HOUSTON – James Harden, taking care of a painful shooting shoulder, needed a late scoring run on Monday night to extend his goal series by at least 30 points to 30 consecutive games.
Harden scored 11 points in 100 seconds at the end of the fourth quarter to finish with 31 in the Houston Rockets' 120-104 victory over the Dallas Mavericks. He extended the series – that Rockets GM Daryl Morey dubbed "The Unguardable Tour" – making a 30-foot pull-up with 52.9 seconds remaining.
Harden was injured in the left shoulder during Saturday's loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder and underwent intensive treatment over the past two days, interrupting his normal shooting training. He struggled with his shot until the end of Monday's win, scoring 9 of 23 on the floor and 6 of 17 after 3 points.
James Harden scored 31 points for his 30th consecutive game with 30 points, despite a shoulder injury, allowing the Houston Rockets to defeat the Dallas Mavericks 120-104 on Monday night.
Kobe Bryant said that he did not think the Rockets could win an NBA championship title with defending player James Harden, who continues to play as he did.
"I could not get the elevator that I usually have for my shot, but that's not an excuse," Harden said. "I'm just happy to have won the match."
Harden joined Wilt Chamberlain as the only player in NBA history to record a 30-game, 30-point streak. Chamberlain had such playoffs of 65 and 31 games.
Rockets coach, Mike D & # 39; Antoni, admitted that he thought the Harden sequence would be interrupted a few minutes before the start of the match. But Harden hit the back riders on back-to-back possessions, daggers that extended Houston's lead to 15 points with 1:57 left. He made a pair of free throws with a time remaining of 1:18 and got three more assistants from Chris Paul to extend the sequence.
It was the fourth time Harden scored 10 points in the last three minutes of regulation, the highest number of goals in the NBA this season. Everyone has arrived since January 19th.
"I was scared to win," said Harden, who also got eight rebounds, seven assists and five steals. "They were shooting, they were coming back, reducing to 10 or 9 points, something like that, so I just wanted to get the appropriate shots, and as I said, they put two on the ball and I managed a few times, and we had good opportunities. "
Dallas often doubled Harden throughout the game to make him lose the ball. It happened before Harden's last shot, but Paul made sure to send the ball back to the MVP, knowing the show was up for grabs.
"Of course, that's certain," said Paul, who earned 17 points and 11 assists. "He's 28, so yes, why not? We were up."
The Rockets improved to 21-9 in the Harden series, moving from 14th to 4th place in the Western Conference standings during this period. His teammates admit that they like to play in a historic race, but Harden often brings back the discussion to victory.
For example, Harden said that the big smile that had erupted on his face after his last blow was due to the fact that "we had sealed the match", and not to a celebration of the extension of his series.
"In the end, the goal is to win games," said Paul. "We never want to compromise a win or anything like that, and I think James did a great job in that area." In the end, the name of the game is to win and that's what we do."
Harden said he hoped that rest and rehabilitation during the break from the stars would allow him to regain strength at the shoulder. He predicts that it will still be painful for Wednesday's match against the Minnesota Timberwolves, but staying out is not a consideration for Harden.
"If he comes to the arena, he plays," said Antoni. "I can not keep him out of practice, let alone play, he likes to play and he knows his body, he can live that, he's fine."