In a game where James Harden scored 27 points in the first quarter and equaled his career best of 61 as the Houston Rockets rallied late to beat the San Antonio Spurs 111-105 on Friday.
Equalling his career-high total of 61, which he set earlier this season at Madison Square Garden, the 29-year-old NBA MVP got another distinction to his name as he scored more than 50 points for the eighth time this season.
"I work every single day to be the best I can be," Harden said. "I got a chance to be one of the best players to ever touch a basketball. As a kid that's what you dream about."
During the fourth quarter, Harden scored all of the Rockets points in a 13-2 burst. Late in the game, he nailed three straight three-pointers to give the Rockets a 103-100 lead.
He finished nine of 13 from beyond the arc and shot 19 of 34 from the floor. He took 17 free throw attempts, missing just three for the Rockets, who have won eight of their last nine games at home.
Amidst all this, Harden went into a scoring pause and the Spurs rallied from a 15-point half-time deficit to tie the game 81-81 at the end of the third. San Antonio led by six points with four minutes remaining in the fourth before Harden took control again.
"I am always in that zone," he said. "I got a conscious in the back my head to get my teammates involved.
Harden came out strong from the opening tip off as he made seven of 10 from the field, including three of four three-pointers in the opening quarter.
His 27 points in the quarter were the second-most in franchise history, trailing only Vernon Maxwell's 30 in 1991.
While other NBA stars like LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard have decided to cut back on their playing time late in the season, Harden says the thought of doing something similar never crossed his mind.
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Suposh Sharma, keenly follows Hockey, Athletics, and other Olympic sports. He also has a penchant for writing humour and is an avid traveller