James Harden drops 57, passes Kobe with 17th straight 30+ point game

Associated Press

With Clint Capela now out at least a month with right thumb injury — joining Chris Paul and Eric Grodon, both already sidelined — even more weight fell on the shoulders of James Harden.

He was up to the task.

Harden scored 57 points on the Memphis Grizzlies, he added 12 rebounds, and the Rockets beat the Grizzlies 112-94. Harden had more than half of Houston’s points on the night.

This was Harden’s 17th straight game with at least 30 points, passing Kobe Bryant (16) for the most consecutive 30+ point games in NBA history.

Harden has carried the Rockets back into a playoff position in the West and the only questions are: 1) How long can he sustain this level of play? 2) Will it be enough to get him his second straight MVP. The answers to those two questions are interrelated.

Harden at some point will need some help — the rest of the Rockets shot just 39.2 percent overall (but did knock down a dozen threes). Just getting the team healthy would go a long ways toward that.