James Harden cannot be stopped. The reigning MVP's offensive onslaught continued on Monday as he carried the Houston Rockets to the 112-94 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies.
The Rockets, who are without Chris Paul, Eric Gordon and now Clint Capela, turned to Harden to get them back into the win column and he delivered in spades.
From the opening tip it was clear Harden was locked in and despite the Grizzlies' best efforts they were simply unable to slow down The Beard. He ended the first half with 36 points on 11-for-21 shooting in only 19 minutes of game time.
The opening half outburst set a new franchise record for the most points scored in the first half by a Rockets player. He continued on in the second as he piled on another 21 points on 6-for-12 shooting to finish the game with 57 points.
James Harden becomes the first player since the ABA/NBA merger (1976) to record 30+ PTS in 17 straight games. #Rockets pic.twitter.com/bHQDUor1Ky- NBA Australia (@NBA_AU) January 15, 2019
It places Monday's effort second on the list of highest scoring games for the Rockets, behind his own 60 points from last season.
Harden now enters the NBA record books by becoming the first player since the ABA/NBA merger (1976) to score 30+ points in 17 straight games. He joins Wilt Chamberlain and Elgin Baylor as the only players to have a run of such potent scoring over that many games.
In the process of his display, Harden also kept his streak of hitting 5-plus threes alive, extending his run to 21 straight games.
🚀 Season-high 57 PTS- NBA (@NBA) January 15, 2019
🚀 17th consecutive game 30+ PTS
🚀 Third game of 50+ PTS this season
James Harden in the @HoustonRockets W! #Rockets pic.twitter.com/9ovpYtFzW6
It gives Harden three games of 50-plus points this season. It's the fourth time in the last 10 seasons a player has done so and each time the feat was achieved the player went on to win the MVP, per ESPN Stats & Info.
The win pushes the Rockets to 26-18 on the season, tied with the Portland Trail Blazers in fourth place in the West. For the Grizzlies, it makes it two straight losses and sees them fall to 19-24.
Harden will have a chance to continue his unbelievable run when the Rockets take on the Nets at home on Wednesday.