James Harden's Record-Setting Streak Not Enough to Keep Rockets Winning

Jesse DorseyFeatured ColumnistJanuary 10, 2013

HOUSTON, TX - JANUARY 08:  James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets waits on the court against the Los Angeles Lakers at Toyota Center on January 8, 2013 in Houston, Texas.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

The New Orleans Hornets stopped the Houston Rockets' winning streak at five games, beating them 88-79, completely derailing their flaming hot offense.

Most stunning is that the Rockets were able to score only 79 points just a day after walloping the Los Angeles Lakers, dropping 125 points on the woeful Lakers.

In fact, Houston was able to rack up just 36 points in the first half, as its offense went stagnant and the shots just refused to fall.

Call it tired legs, call it bad luck, the only thing it really means is a number added to the loss column rather than the win column, a rare sight to be seen by the Rockets lately. 

Up until this game, the Rockets had won five in a row, including 12 of their past 15 games, pushing their record all the way up to 21-15. In other words, they're definitely starting to look like a viable playoff team in the Western Conference.

At the heart of their run has been their terrific all-around offensive play, with every member of the team contributing in some way, but James Harden sticking out above all the rest.

While Jeremy Lin has shook off his early-season jitters, and is starting to look something like he was last season, Chandler Parsons has become a terrific do-it-all player, Omer Asik continues to rebound like a machine, each member of the power forward committee adds something to the game, and the likes of Toney Douglas and Carlos Delfino shoot well, Harden has been the real story.

Over the course of the past 14 games, he's been nearly unstoppable on the offensive end, scoring at least 25 points in each of those games.

James Harden has set the #Rockets franchise record of consecutive 25+ point games at 14.

— Beyond The Buzzer(@BeyondTheBuzzer) January 10, 2013

The record unseats Moses Malone, who scored at least 25 points in 13 straight games between January 26 and February 23 in 1982. Malone averaged 37.5 points per game during his streak, never dipping below 31 points in 13 games.

In comparison, Harden has scored a "measly" 29.1 points per game over the course of his 14-game streak, all while shooting 49 percent from the field, 39 percent from the three-point line and 88 percent from the free-throw line. 

Oh, and he's ending up with over five assists per game, grabbing four rebounds and two steals.

Needless to say, this has been an incredible streak for Harden, and even if the Rockets didn't win in Harden's latest 25-point game, it's just another step toward reassuring them that they made the right choice.

Houston took a huge gamble, banking on what it's seen from Harden in the past three seasons was only the tip of the iceberg, and he's got a ton of room to grow.

After spending like madmen over the summer, they made a blockbuster trade and picked up the reigning Sixth Man of the Year, and it's turned out to be one of the best moves any team has made in years.

Harden is only 23 years old, yet he already looks like a franchise centerpiece. He should only continue to get better.

As for this streak, it's damn impressive, but he's got a bit of a way to go before he makes his way to Allen Iverson's 27-game streak of at least 25 points, Kevin Durant's 29-game streak or Micheal Jordan's two 40-game streaks.

However, he's got a shot at making it to Kobe Bryant's longest streak of 19 games, or LeBron James' of 21 games.


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