On night that evoked Wilt’s weak side, Harden shows his strength

Houston Rockets guard James Harden put recorded his seventh double-double of the season Wednesday against the Detroit Pistons.
Pat Sullivan

Most of the chatter coming out Wednesday’s Houston-Detroit matchup is all about intentional fouling and Pistons center Andre Drummond’s unsightly free throw shooting that broke Wilt Chamberlain’s record lack of prowess at the charity stripe.

Well, James Harden went the other way, putting Chamberlain’s dominance on display with this amazing stat line in the Rockets’ 123-114 loss: 33 points, 17 rebounds and 14 assists. The Elias Sports Bureau dug up this little nugget about how insane of a game Harden had — such numbers hadn’t been put up in more than 40 years. Wilt’s numbers from that 1968 game are boffo, but let’s remember he was the dominant center of the day, while Harden is a 6-foot-5 shooting guard.

Harden also became the youngest player in NBA history to register 1,000 made 3-point shots.

Congrats @jharden13 on becoming the youngest player in NBA history to hit 1K 3-Pointers (26 years & 167 days old).

A photo posted by Houston Rockets (@houstonrockets) on

The Beard probably won’t put this remarkable game in his greatest hits collection because the Rockets lost yet again to fall back to .500. Houston is now 6.5 games behind the fourth-place Los Angeles Clippers, and only three games ahead of the ninth-place Utah Jazz. In previous seasons, the Rockets would be on the outside of the Western Conference playoff bubble, so they’re fortunate that the West has weakened beyond the top three or four teams.

Still, the playoffs are no guarantee now for a team that sits at .500 and can’t beat a young Detroit at home when its superstar deliveres a performance that hasn’t been seen since Wilt.