History was made in Washington, D.C. on Monday.
James Harden had 54 points and 13 assists in the Houston Rockets' 135-131 loss to the Washington Wizards, breaking his tie with Russell Westbrook for the most 50-point, 10-assist games with five.
He also made history by scoring or assisting on 86 of the Rockets' 135 points, the most any player has ever scored or assisted on in a loss, passing Devin Booker's 70-point performance (83 points scored/assisted on) versus the Boston Celtics in 2017.
In simple terms, it was the most prolific individual performance in a loss in NBA history, per NBA.com's Micah Adams.
Harden got going immediately, scoring 12 points to go with eight assists in a first quarter that the Rockets scored 42 points. He had 11 in the second quarter to give him 23 at the half, but other than Eric Gordon (21 points), the rest of the team couldn't find a way to put up points. Houston trailed the Wizards by two at the half and John Wall led the way with 18 points and five assists for the Wizards.
The third quarter is where Harden really got going - he poured in 21 points on only six field goal attempts, burying three 3-pointers and making six of his seven free throws. With 44 points, nine assists and a four-point lead going into the final quarter, you would have assumed the reigning MVP and his squad were going to wrap up a solid road win.
With the game tied at 117 with three and a half minutes on the clock, Harden knocked down an and-1 triple to give himself 50 points and Houston a late four-point lead.
James Harden gets the 4-point play opportunity to give him 50 PTS!- NBA (@NBA) November 27, 2018
2:30 left to play on @NBATV pic.twitter.com/kYc1c7ohaq
It only took two possessions for the Wizards to tie things up, but the Rockets regained the lead with just under two minutes to go. Bradley Beal knocked down a huge 3 to give the Wizards the lead and Harden had turnovers on back-to-back possessions, but after a missed free-throw, Harden found Clint Capela on an alley-oop to tie the game in the final seconds. When both teams came up with stops, the game was sent into overtime.
The Wizards controlled the tempo in OT and fatigue sent in for Harden as he had three turnovers in the game's final five minutes. He only scored four points in overtime and the Rockets fell to the Wizards.
Harden finished with 54 points shooting 17-for-32 from the field and 7-for-15 from deep. He sunk 13 of his 15 free throws to go with 13 assists and eight rebounds but also had 11 turnovers on the night. Eric Gordon scored 36 points, draining eight 3-pointers in the loss and the Rockets bench only combined for nine points on the night as they fell to 9-10.
On the winning side of things, John Wall had a season-high 36 points and 11 assists and Bradley Beal went for 32 points on an efficient 12-for-18. The Wizards advance to 8-12 after winning three of their last four games.