Houston Rockets All-Star guard James Harden continues to torture the Phoenix Suns in their own gym, erupting for 40 points Tuesday night and falling just one assist shy of a triple-double.

Harden grabbed 12 rebounds and handed out 9 assists in the 127-118 road win.

This was Harden’s second consecutive 40-point game.

Per the AZ Republic:

Harden will return to the Valley next week when Arizona State retires his number. It would take something that special to top his first two 2015 visits. He downed Phoenix on a buzzer-beating shot in January and came within an assist of his fourth career triple-double Tuesday night when he added 12 rebounds and nine assists to his NBA-best sixth 40-point game this season, including two in a row.

 

As the Suns search for a star, Harden’s visits are reminders of how Phoenix’s pursuit of trading for Harden in 2012 came up short to Houston’s accumulated assets. […] “We don’t have the James Harden to take over the game,” Suns coach Jeff Hornacek said. “He either made the bucket or made the play for his teammates and his teammates ended up knocking the shots down.”

 

“It’s so hard because James Harden is a difference-maker,” Suns guard Goran Dragic added.