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Thursday, February 21st, 2013 at 10:15 am  |  45 responses

James Harden Drops a Career-High 46 Points on the OKC Thunder (VIDEO)

The Bearded One lights up his former team.

The Bearded One lit up his former team to the tune of 46 points, and led the suddenly short-handed Houston Rockets to a 122-119 victory. James Harden hit 7 three-pointers, grabbed 8 rebounds, handed out 6 assists and seemingly did whatever he wanted against the OKC Thunder defense. Per the Houston Chronicle: “With every reason to lose, James Harden gathered his teammates and pledged to do whatever was necessary to win. Rarely has more been required. Perhaps never have he and this season’s Rockets more completely delivered. The Rockets were more than short-handed. They had been stunned when the trades of Patrick Patterson, Cole Aldrich, Marcus Morris and Toney Douglas emptied the locker room just minutes before those left behind were to make their run to the court. [...] Harden said that was his message before the game and again in the fourth quarter when the Thunder were close to finishing off the Rockets as expected all along. ‘A lot of distractions before the game, but I just rallied the guys together and told them to focus in on every play,’ Harden said. ‘It’s going to be a tough game for us. I just told the guys on the court, we have to do whatever it takes.’ It took Harden scoring a career-high 46 points as he made seven of eight 3-pointers, including a halfcourt buzzer-beater to end the third quarter and serve as a sign of what would come next. In the final seven minutes, Harden finished off his former team with 12 points. ‘If he is not up for MVP consideration, I mean, I don’t know what else he needs to do,’ Jeremy Lin said. ‘Forty-six points on 19 shots. I mean, he made every single big play down the stretch, and even the shots that I was able to have, they were created because of him. Man, he played phenomenal.’”

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  • spit hot fiyah@m.com

    presti! tell me how my @zz tastes! – harden at post game party

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Gilbert/100001749589586 Mike Gilbert

    the real shocker of this game is how Thabo Sefalosha scored 28 points…on 16 shots… :0

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Gilbert/100001749589586 Mike Gilbert

    the Rockets are like a really good college team

  • http://twitter.com/Schneezy Schneezy

    “Should have signed me.”

  • yadot

    haha swiss precision!

  • roscoe

    did anyone else notice how much westbrook/kd/harden enjoyed hanging around each other @ allstar break…?

    i’d be surprised if dub-brk & kd stick around 4 d’long haul.

    get ur u-haul ready; movin’ on up.

  • pposse

    harden was putting all defenders on ice skates wooo, the ‘bearded one’ was hooping!

  • http://www.facebook.com/doe.columbus Doe Columbus

    So OKC you didn’t want to give Harden a max contract? u think?

  • BRAVO

    love watching Rockets play. James Harden is a damn BEAST

  • Anthony Dixon

    lol so disrespectful

  • Kevin Martin can never replace Harden…

  • z

    Their record shows they don’t regret it.

  • Troy

    Harden is a superstar. Unreal handles, dominant with the ball in his hands, lethal shooter, cold-blooded, and most importantly – EFFICIENT. 46 on 19 shots. What?!

  • AndyK415

    Yes sir. Harden is the man!….remember on draft night when people thought taking Harden that early was dumb?

  • Lloyd

    MVP consideration JLin? Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Maybe a faaaar outside shot.

  • KevinJohnsonFan

    Under no circumstances should Durant shoot only 13 times a game. Not all Westbrook’s fault. The Thunder’s offense is Durant, Westbrook or bust. And when Westbrook can’t get the ball to Durant or doesn’t want to, it’s a jumpshot or him barreling to the rim. Harden fixed those problems when he was on the floor with them. Wouldn’t be surprised to see them eliminated in the 2nd round.

  • KevinJohnsonFan

    The trade can’t be judged in the regular season. If they don’t get to the Finals, the trade will end up being a mistake. Even if it’s one they felt they had to make.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Gilbert/100001749589586 Mike Gilbert

    lol I just mean with how young they all are, how they are always so excited and energetic, and how they love passin the ball around the arc till they find that open 3

  • mmd

    They did used to be teammates and played together on the US team as well.

    Not sure “dub-brk” & kd are going anywhere too soon… lol

  • i_ball

    They will get to the WC Finals but cosign on the first part. The guy is aiming for the 50-40-90 club – let him shoot!!!

  • i_ball

    Fear the beard! One of the few players proving he deserves the max!

  • z

    No, it really won’t. If they don’t make it to the Finals it will be because there is a juggernaut in the Spurs in their conference, or a dramatically improved Clippers team. Even still, it’s unlikely that they won’t make it.

    Secondly, we can all pretend like the league isn’t a business, but there is that little issue of the salary cap. Do you really think that simply not making the Finals would be a bigger failure than keeping Harden to eventually let Ibaka walk?

  • LakeShow

    I hope your not just now figuring this out.

  • Anthony Dixon

    lol ok cool.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    uhm, Harden has 46 on 19…..

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    46 points on 19 shots is so outrageous.

  • KevinJohnsonFan

    If the Spurs beat them in the playoffs this season, it will be because Harden is no longer there. If the Thunder don’t make it to the Finals, it won’t be because the Spurs or Clippers are so much better than they were last season. It will mainly be because the Thunder are worse. The Spurs won a lot of games last season too. So they’re basically having the same kind of season. Same team. Same as the Thunder. The only way we will be able to see who’s really better is if they meet in the postseason. Did you watch that series last season? Harden was huge for them. So again, a regular season record means absolutely nothing. The only time we will be able to judge this trade is when the playoffs get here. Same issue with the Clippers. If they lose in the 2nd round again, they’re no better than they were last season. Will Durant and Westbrook be enough to get them to the Finals? That’s the big question. If they aren’t, then the trade will be a failure this season. Trying to decide which is a bigger failure is pointless. Can they win a championship this season? Are they in a better position to win one? That’s really all that matters.

  • roscoe

    dey used to be teammates?! what!? when?

    sorry to break the news but these moving companies have been contacted:

    i. Mayflower

    ii. Uhaul,

    iii. United

    its been verified.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Gilbert/100001749589586 Mike Gilbert

    but Thabo….shot 11-16….

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Gilbert/100001749589586 Mike Gilbert

    without any free throws!!!

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    SO? are you saying you are just surprised because it was Thabo? Because 14-19 is a better % then 11-16.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Gilbert/100001749589586 Mike Gilbert

    I was shocked it was Thabo, I was shocked Thabo took more shots than Durant and I was shocked it was Thabo

  • http://www.facebook.com/Brill86 Andrew Woods

    Let’s be honest here. James Harden is now a top 6 player in this league. Today at 2guard there isn’t one player at the same position that I would trade James Harden for at this point and time. Also, dare I say that I’d rather of traded Westbrook but ya know looks in the past is always 20/20

  • z

    You are really trying to argue that other teams being better doesn’t matter? Basically you’re saying the very reason competition is called competition doesn’t matter in the case of the Thunder. That’s asinine. Quality of opponent matters just as much as a team’s make up. That’s simply the worst argument I’ve read in a while. Harden being huge for them last season has nothing to do with them this season. If you want to talk about last season and Harden, the main point you should bring up is that he FAILED them in the Finals. If they are having just as good of a season as last season, and Harden rendered himself ineffective when they needed him most, it’s safe to say they are currently fine without him. That’s the bottom line.

    And AGAIN, if you cannot explain how it will be financially possible for them to keep Harden and Ibaka then your entire argument is useless unless you can genuinely make a case for Harden being less replaceable than Ibaka. They had to let him go no matter what you’re trying to say. They could not possibly keep him. The options were to keep him all season and lose him for nothing, or to trade him and get back at least something. How is this even debatable?

  • KevinJohnsonFan

    The Thunder being worse helps the teams that MAY be better. But my main point is neither you nor anyone else can determine how much better these teams are until the playoffs get here. Simple. Saying everything’s great because of a regular season record is stupid.

  • z

    I’m not saying to live and die by a regular season record; I’m saying at the very least they have no reason to regret the trade. I’m also saying it’s not a question that some teams MAY have gotten better. They did get better. The Clips and Warriors specifically are better. That’s not debatable. The success of the Thunder’s season comes down to more than the Harden trade. There are other factors.

  • tru

    I believe the phrase you are looking for is “Hindsight is always 20/20″. You’re welcome.

  • KevinJohnsonFan

    The biggest factor is that trade. An improved Durant, Westbrook and Harden playing together would easily get past any team in the West. Without Harden, it’s up in the air if they have to face the Spurs and they would struggle to beat the Clippers in a series. The Warriors got better but they’re still far behind the Thunder even without Harden so they’re irrelevant to this discussion. Especially with how they’ve been struggling recently. The Clippers are better in the regular season but again, if they lose in the 2nd round again, we can’t say they’re better. More talented doesn’t equal better. Especially when it’s unproven. Can’t be proven until the playoffs get here.

  • z

    If a team’s record is better than the previous season, they are better. Period, end of story. That’s the proof. How are improved teams in the conference irrelevant to the conversation, when your ENTIRE POINT was based on the Thunder’s performance within the conference? At this point I don’t know if you even know what you are arguing. You are speaking about hypotheticals with absolute certainty. I’m talking about hard facts. The facts are: Those teams are better than last season; the Thunder are still not suffering without James Harden, who for all you know could be a dud for two years straight in the Finals. Harden was a bench player with limited minutes. He is now a starter and the focal point of his team. Neither you nor I can say he’s a different player from last season because the only thing we know for sure is that THIS SEASON he is being given more of an opportunity to showcase it in the regular season. Like I said, based on facts, they have no reason to regret the trade.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Brill86 Andrew Woods

    Thank you but I prefer it my way-’Lord of War’

  • KevinJohnsonFan

    The playoffs are where teams show who they really are. Not the regular season. Any casual basketball fan knows this. If they get back to the Finals, then they have no reason to regret it. If they don’t, whether they had to do it or not and whether they say it or not, they will end up regretting not giving Harden more time to make a decision.

  • KevinJohnsonFan

    Not so sure. A team like Denver could give them trouble. A lot of good players. Move the ball well. A few guys who can get 20-25 on any given night. If Westbrook has an off series, there’s less room for error without Harden.

  • z

    The regular season counts too. To dismiss an entire season and to relegate total value to a few games in the post season is nonsense thinking. That’s the difference between a casual fan and someone who actually watches and plays basketball. And since you are saying that, I better not see you or anyone else here saying a damn thing about the Bulls. According to you they aren’t contenders with Rose, and will likely never be no matter how good their regular season is. I guess the Lakers also will still have a shot at the title if they get the 8th seed. Their regular season record tells us that they are an inconsistent, mediocre team but it won’t matter as an eight seed in the playoffs because they still have a title shot. They won’t regret not giving Harden more time. He knows and everyone else knows he was going to get paid. The Thunder couldn’t do it. That’s not an argument.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    that was by Houston’s design. They were leaving Thabo all alone all game long.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y4E3BKVZ7H5SJBC5TDO7QHMBUE magnetik

    that crossover 3ptr over Sefalosha was ridiculous. Too bad it wasn’t in the video

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