James Harden won the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award for his phenomenal 2017-18 season. As a result, he became the first Rockets player since Hakeem Olajuwon in 1993-94 to win the award.
This was the six time All-Star’s second award that he put on his resume. He won the league’s Sixth Man of the Year award in the 2011-12 as a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
This past season, Harden averaged 30.4 points per game, which was a league high. He also averaged 5.4 rebounds and 8.8 assists per contest. Furthermore, he led the Rockets to a franchise record 65 wins in the regular season as they had the best record in the NBA.
Harden can score the ball at will, whether its the stepback three, euro stepping to the basket or strategically drawing fouls. The guy known for having his trademark big beard, impressed us with his big time performances. He is well recognized as one of the toughest players to guard.
With that being said, here are his top five moments of the season.
4th quarter comeback vs Trail Blazers
Trailing by 14 points in the fourth quarter, Harden led the charge as the Rockets came back to win 124-117 in Portland. He had 48 points on 16 of 29 shooting from the floor, 12/14 from the charity stripe and eight rebounds. At the time, Houston had the best road record at 12-1.
60 point triple double
In addition, Harden made history for both the NBA and the Rockets. He scored 60 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and had 11 assists as he led his team to a victory against the Magic. 18 of those points came in the fourth quarter where he carried the load. His performance meant that he became the first player in league history to have a 60 point triple double. Most noteworthy, he set the new franchise record for most points scored in a single game passing Calvin Murphy‘s 57 point game in 1978.
February 28, 2018: Crossover on Wesley Johnson
This was the move that everybody talked about on TV, internet, social media, etc. Harden goes one on one against Wesley Johnson. He drove left, crossed over Johnson, stepped back behind the arc while looking at him for a few seconds and knocked down the three. Everyone including the Rockets bench were in awe and jumped up in excitement. Houston would blow out the Clippers, 105 to 92.
March 25, 2018: Triple Double in clinching the Rockets first ever 60 win season
Harden had an impressive triple double by scoring 18 points, 10 rebounds and 15 assists while playing in just three quarters. The Rockets would obliterate the Hawks 118 to 99. It was their 60th victory, which is the most in franchise history. They had reached 60 wins in 74 games.
April 16, 2018: 44 point playoff opener
In the Rockets playoff opener against the young Timberwolves, Harden would make his MVP presence known off the gates. He had 44 points on 15 of 26 shooting from the floor, including seven of 12 from three point land. Harden would have a personal own 12-0 run in the fourth quarter. The Rockets would fend off the a late T’Wolves rally to take Game 1, 104-101.
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