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Houston Rockets

James Harden explodes for 60 points in three quarters as Houston Rockets cruise past Atlanta Hawks

James Harden's sizzling scoring form is showing no signs of slowing down after pouring in a season-high 60 points in just three quarters of action against the Atlanta Hawks in their 158-111 win.

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Harden now has as many 60-point games as Michael Jordan and now trails only Kobe Bryant (6) and Wilt Chamberlain (32).

"That's greatness right there," Harden said post-game

"Those guys are something that I'm trying to get to," Harden said. "Hopefully when it's all said and done, I can be mentioned in that group forever. Still a work in progress, but we're working to get there."

Harden joins Klay Thompson and Kobe Bryant as the only players to hit 60 points in just three quarters and is the only active player who has scored 60 points more than once.

His effort against the Hawks came on an efficient 16-of-24 from the field, 8-of-14 from the three-point line and 20-of-23, with his 24 field goal attempts the fewest ever in a 60-point game, surpassing Karl Malone.

The 30-year-old was in the zone from the jump, scoring 31 points in the first half as the Rockets raced out to an 81-52 lead at the half, before erupting for 29 points in the third quarter.

Harden knocked down a barrage of threes in the period, with the Hawks unable to find an answer to slow him down, as he went on a personal 18-3 run to make it 101-59 with seven minutes left in the quarter.

He checked out of the game with the Rockets up 54 points heading into the fourth, just one-point shy of tying his career-high and despite the crowd's pleas to Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni to put him back in, Harden sat the entire fourth quarter.

Ben McLemore knocked down six three-pointers for his 24 points, adding a career-high 13 rebounds, while Russell Westbrook chipped in 15 points, eight assists and eight rebounds.

Trae Young led the Hawks with 37 points and seven assists on 10-of-16 from the field. De'Andre Hunter added 14 points and Jabari Parker 11.

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