Heading into the final night of the regular season, Russell Westbrook leads the league in scoring with an average of 28.015 points per game, and James Harden is second with an average of 27.513.
That’s how it’s likely to end up — unless something crazy happens.
Marc Stein of ESPN.com has the numbers:
If Russ Westbrook goes scoreless tonight, James Harden needs 35 points for scoring title. If Russ scores 15, Harden needs 53.
If Russ scores 20, JH needs 59. If Russ scores 25, make it 65. If it’s 30, try 71. Harden needs 77 if Russ scores 35 … and 83 if it’s 40
Westbrook has scored 36, 54 and 27 points in his last three games, and with his team needing a win (and a Pelicans loss) to make the playoffs, we can expect a big night from him against the lowly Timberwolves.
Harden would need to pour in an insane amount of points at home against a very good defensive team in the Utah Jazz to overtake Westbrook for the scoring title. While such a scenario is unlikely, it wouldn’t be completely unprecedented.
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In 1978, George Gervin defeated David Thompson for the scoring title by scoring 63 points on the last day of the season, after Thompson scored 73 in his final game to pose a significant challenge.
In 1994, David Robinson dropped 71 points on the Clippers on the final day of the regular season to wrest the scoring title from Shaquille O’Neal.
We’ll see if Harden has any similar heroics in store tonight. Both games tip off at 8:00 p.m. ET.