Ranking James Harden’s 60 Point Triple Double All Time

Photo vis ClutchPoints.com

James Harden had himself a night last night in Houston. Without Chris Paul and Trevor Ariza, Harden recorded a 60 point triple-double against the Orlando Magic in a Rockets win. His final stat line was 60 points, 11 assists, 10 rebounds and 4 steals. Harden was the offense or Houston, and that doesn’t mean he was a black hole. He did take 30 shots, but he was 19-30 from the floor. That is efficient for that many shots. There have been some unbelievable performances in the NBA, but Harden’s 60 point, triple-double effort ranks second in the NBA, just behind Wilt.

This will probably be an unpopular opinion. And I am not downplaying some of the best individual efforts in NBA history. Kobe’s 81 was obviously amazing. David Robinson recorded a quadruple-double in points assists, rebounds and blocks. Shaq came close to a quadruple-double in an NBA Finals game. Speaking of Finals, Bill Russell had a 30 point, 40 rebound game. You could go on and on about the historical performances in the NBA, but James tops all them. Except for one.

Let’s make it clear, the Magic are bad. The opponent always gets brought up in big time performances like this, and rightfully so. The argument can be made that Bill Russell getting 30 points and 40 rebounds in Game 7 against the Lakers pulls a little more weight than a regular season performance against a bad Magic team. However, Harden didn’t have much help either. Paul and Ariza were out. Eric Gordon only played 10 minutes and left with an injury. That doesn’t leave the Rockets with much. A supporting cast of Clint Capela, Ryan Anderson and Gerald Green is equal to the team the Magic rolled out there.

The next argument is Kobe’s 81 point game. Harden scored 21 points less, so how could his game rank #2 all time? He had 11 assists to Kobe’s 2. If you want to nitpick, Harden was a tad more efficient, shooting 63% from the floor compared to Kobe’s 60. The big thing is the assists. Harden scored 60, but assisted on 26 more points. That made him accountable for 86 of Houston’s 114 points. What’s wild is that this wasn’t the most points he’s accounted for in a game. He’s two other 50+ point triple doubles in which he tallied a few more assists. It’s weird to call James Harden efficient, but 60 points on 63% shooting and 11 assists doesn’t say “forced.”

It also should be noted that the Rockets won. This doesn’t give Harden an advantage over any of the players noted above, as they all won too, but a loss would have tarnished the performance some. What’s crazy is that this is Harden’s third 50+ point triple-double. If he scored 59 points this would just be another tally on his resume. But because it’s 60, it has this allure. James Harden is one of the greatest offensive players in the NBA today. At his current rate, he could end up as one of the greatest offensive players in league history. This performance supports that.

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