James Harden has had a January to remember.
- 61 points against the Knicks in Madison Square Garden.
- 58 points against the Nets in an overtime thriller
- 57 points against the Grizzlies, including 36 of his team's 54 in the 1st half
In 14 games this month, the reigning MVP averaged an outrageous 43.6 points per game. It probably won't surprise you to know that it's one of the most prolific scoring months in NBA history. He's now only the fourth player in NBA history to average 40 for an entire calendar month (minimum 10 games).
Here are each of the players to do it along with a complete list of every time it's ever happened.
Considering that he once averaged over 50 points per game for an entire season, Chamberlain dropping 40 over the course of a month is a drop in the bucket. He did it 11 different times in months he played at least 10 games which doesn't even include October 1962 when he poured in 52.8 over five games, the highest average in any month in league history.
How ridiculous was Chamberlain as a scorer? According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he averaged 40 points per game over a stretch of 515 games. That's over 15 times longer than the next-longest streak of its kind entering this season.
Prior to Harden, Bryant was the last player to average 40 over an entire month, something he did three times. His most prolific scoring month came in January 2006 when he averaged 43.4 over 13 games. In addition to his 81-point game against the Toronto Raptors which remains the second-most any player has ever scored in an NBA game, Bryant also dropped 50 against the Clippers and 51 against the Kings.
You almost have to feel bad for Baylor in that much of his prolific career overlapped with the likes of Chamberlain and Oscar Robertson. Case in point? December 1961, arguably the greatest month of his career in which Baylor averaged 41.3 points per game over 20 games. That month included some ridiculous performances.
- 63 points, 31 rebounds and 7 assists in a win over the Philadelphia Warriors... in a game that Chamberlain finished with 78 points and 43 rebounds
- 52 points, 25 rebounds and 10 assists in a one-point overtime win over the St. Louis Hawks
- 52 points and 16 rebounds in a loss to the Philadelphia Warriors... in a game that Chamberlain finished with 60 points and 26 rebounds
Not only was Baylor's gaudy 41.3 PPG for the month not even the most in the league, it was over 10 fewer than Chamberlain who dropped 52.4 for the month, the most in NBA history (min. 10 games).
Highest scoring months in NBA history
Prior to this season, there had been 15 months in NBA history in which a player averaged over 40 points per game while playing in at least 10 games.
Here are all of them.
|Wilt Chamberlain||52.4||December 1961|
|Wilt Chamberlain||52.1||November 1962|
|Wilt Chamberlain||51.8||January 1962|
|Wilt Chamberlain||50.6||February 1962|
|Wilt Chamberlain||45.8||March 1963|
|Wilt Chamberlain||44.1||November 1961|
|Wilt Chamberlain||43.6||December 1962|
|James Harden||43.6||January 2019|
|Kobe Bryant||43.4||January 2006|
|Wilt Chamberlain||41.9||January 1963|
|Wilt Chamberlain||41.6||November 1964|
|Wilt Chamberlain||41.4||January 1960|
|Elgin Baylor||41.3||December 1961|
|Kobe Bryant||40.6||February 2003|
|Wilt Chamberlain||40.4||February 1961|
|Kobe Bryant||40.4||March 2007|