EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Harden has a night for the ages

SUMMARY: James Harden put on a historic performance as the Rockets blew out the Jazz
• Only one player has ever scored more points on 25 shots in NBA History than what James Harden did tonight, Michael Jordan.

• Only one player has ever had 50 points, 10 assist and shot better than 75%, Wilt Chamberlin.

• Tonight’s performance has only been matched by the two greatest players to ever play the game.

• Harden had 56 points and 13 assists. 9 of his 13 assists were for three point shots. Total that together and Harden contributed directly to 91 points.

• James Harden was incredible. He scored in every manner. He started the night doing a lot of scoring in the mid range and in the paint non restricted area which is usually what you want to force him into. Then his confidence grew and he was unreal. Driving to the rim around Gobert. Making three after three, even when they were contenst.

• After the 1st quarter Harden had 22 points on 8 for 8 shooting with 4 three pointers and 2 for 2 at the line. He had 4 assists in the 1st quarter as well. All of those threes were for three point shots. He contributed 34 points in the 1st quarter alone.

• By halftime had missed a shot, two in fact. He was 10 of 12 for 30 points. He had made another three without a miss and two more free throws. Then he added 3 more assists for a total of 7.

• By the end of three quarters he had gone over 50, with 54 points. Now he had 13 assist, 9 of which were for three point shots. Not a lot of players in NBA history have notched 54 points in 3 quarters of basketball. Not to mention on 18 of 21 shots.

• He scored 50 points on 20 shots which had only been done one other time in NBA history.

• It was the best offensive player in the NBA dominating a game at the highest level. Talking to people around the Rockets who have covered him his entire run in Houston, they called tonight the best performance of his career.

• The Jazz had a few offensive stretches tonight where the ball stopped moving and they tried to play 1 on 1. This was usually caused by the switching defense of the Rockets, but this team is not filled with one on one players.

• Donovan Mitchell continues to wow people. He was very solid tonight . The three best plays he made tonight in my mind were passes. He has very good vision and as he learns how to not turn the ball over and open up his passing it will be more and more evident. We saw the Rockets double him off the pick and roll and this was the first time a team has done that. The next steps in his progress will be seeing different defensive approaches. He is close to being the first name mentioned in a scouting report.

• Derrick Favors had two three pointers, a first in his career.

• Take out his first quarters and Rodney Hood is playing really well. But he can’t get started yet. He is 4 of 19 in the first quarter and has only scored 10 points all year. The rest of the game he is 37 of 82 for a solid 45%

• Jazz played Thabo Sefolosha as the back up power forward tonight.

• Tony Bradley got his first NBA time but didn’t get his first points.

• This night is about Harden.