It took a humiliating post-match interview for James Harden to finally have his wish come true. The Houston Rockets ended their eight-year relationship with the disgruntled superstar on Wednesday by sending her to the Brooklyn Nets in a four-team contract that also includes the Indiana Pacers and Cleveland Cavaliers.
As with any superstar player in need of a trade, Harden’s departure has left a bad taste in the mouths of Rocket fans. While the wound is still fresh, all they can think about are the dark days Harden brought to the team: He got completely out of shape, enjoyed strip clubs at boot camp, and failed to even get the Rockets to the NBA Finals.
But in retrospect, Harden’s good days in H-town far outweigh the bad. Beard single-handedly turned the Rockets around when they picked him up from the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2012. Since then, missiles have become a regular competitor in the crowded Western Conference.
Harden has been the top scorer in the NBA for the past three seasons and is the Rockets’ second top scorer behind Hakeem Olajuwon. He joins Olajuwon and Moses Malone as the only players to win the MVP title in the Rockets’ colors.
But whether you love him or hate him, Harden will undoubtedly be one of the best players in Clutch City.
As James Harden packs his bags to join the Nets, here are his five best moments with the Rockets.
5. Led the Rockets to a 3-1 loss to the Clippers.
While Harden and the Rockets also failed to hold onto a 3-1 lead, there was a moment when they came out on top.
In 2015, the Rockets managed to beat the famous Los Angeles Clippers in the second round of the NBA playoffs thanks to a team effort. But it certainly wouldn’t have happened if Harden hadn’t been so heroic. Beard averaged 25.1 points per game in a series that included seven games.
He crowned his dominant run with a performance in the 7th tiebreaker, scoring 31 points and eight plays.
4. 31- Old game of 30 points with extra points.
The fact is Harden is a walking bucket who can score anywhere from here to Timbuktu. The fact that it also goes online at will makes it almost invincible.
Although Harden has averaged more than 30 points in three Rockets games, it’s still surprising to see him surpass 30 points in 31 consecutive games during the 2018-19 season.
The six-foot left-handed set Wilt Chamberlain’s legendary record for the second-longest 30-point run in NBA history. He was about to break the Big Dipper record of 34 consecutive misses, but he missed a basket on the next play.
3. Prices of the game
If Harden is by far the most talented offensive player the Rockets have ever had, he has also fulfilled Clutch City’s mantra. The former Arizona State star saved his team multiple times with the game-winning daggers.
In the 2015 regular season game, Harden brought down the Phoenix Suns in one fell swoop, capping the night’s performance with an eighth of 33 points.
In the third game of the first-round series against the Golden State Warriors in the 2016 playoffs, Harden took his usual step back and hit game-winner Andre Iguodala with just 2.7 seconds left.
The eighth-seeded Rockets eventually lost the series 4-1, but escaped an embarrassing fight with the win.
Three years later, Harden again tormented the Warriors with another clutch bucket in a regular season game. The eighth-time All-Star left an incredibly strong three-point lead over Draymond Green and Clay Thompson for the win, as the Rockets fell to five tics in overtime.
2. Ridiculous triple-double of 53 points, 16 rebounds, 17 assists.
No wonder Harden can inflate his stats overnight. But in the 2016 New Year’s Eve game against the New York Knicks, Beard took the game to a whole new level. How can you… Are you kidding me? Level.
He posted amazing numbers that had never been seen before in the NBA. The former sixth man of the year scored a 53-point triple-double, 16 rebounds and 17 assists in the Rockets victory. Here are the songs from the live video games.
In all, Harden scored or assisted on 95 of the Rockets’ 129 points in a single night.
1. 60 points triple double
Harden recorded 49 triple-doubles in his career. He also heads a very exclusive club of six players who have scored 50 triple-digit points in NBA history.
But as surprising as it may seem, Harden has already surpassed that feat by being the only player to record a 60-point triple-double. That’s what happened in a 2018 regular season game against the Orlando Magic, where he scored 60 points, 10 boards and 11 coins.
It’s just James Harden doing James Harden.
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