James Harden badly wants to be the NBA’s MVP this season. To get the hardware will take a full season of a high level of play (so far so good there) and a couple of performances that stick in voters’ minds.
Harden delivered that Tuesday night with the NBA’s first-ever 60-point triple-double, dropping it in a win over Orlando. You read that right, 60 points, to go with 11 points and 10 assists. (Harden broke Russell Westbrook‘s record from last March for most points in a triple-double, when he had 57, also against Orlando.)
Harden had his 60 points on 30 shots, and he was attacking — 12 of his shots were at the rim (he hit 11) and he was drawing fouls like only he can, getting 17 of his points from the charity stripe. He was also a solid 5-of-13 from three, and he got an and-1 on a three to get to 60 at the end of the game (see the video above).
The Rockets needed this kind of night out of Harden to get the 114-107 win — Trevor Ariza and Chris Paul did not dress and then Eric Gordon left in the first half with back tightness. It was Harden against the World (or, at least Orlando) and he delivered.
Here are the full Harden highlights, which you need to watch.