Madison Square Harden, the dagger in the Bay: A look at Harden's 30-point streak

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HOUSTON – The Beard is on another planet right now. He is changing the way the game is being played and watched. Despite his naysayers, Harden's brilliance is impossible to ignore. He is The Face (Beard) of the NBA.

James Harden scored 15 points in a 27-point loss to the Utah Jazz on Dec. 6.

Since then, he has scored 29 or more points in every game. The caveat? He scored 29 points one time, on Dec. 11, in a seven-point win over the Blazers.

That means that since Dec. 13, when Harden scored 50 points in a 15-point win over the Lakers, The Beard has scored at least 30 points in every game.

His 32-game streak of reaching the 30-point threshold is the second-longest of its kind in NBA history, second to only Wilt Chamberlin's 65-game stretch in 1961-62.

The streak come to an end in a Rockets' win over the Hawks on Monday.

Here's a look at the streak:

#32: Feb. 22 - Los Angeles Lakers 111, Houston Rockets 106

LeBron James rallied the Lakers from a 19-point deficit midway through the third quarter to defeat the Rockets. Harden led Houston with 30 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists before fouling out with 1:24 remaining.

#31: Feb. 13 - Minnesota Timberwolves 121, Houston Rockets 111

The Rockets ended the pre-All-Star break portion of the season on a sour note by losing at the T'Wolves, but Harden's streak remained intact. He reached the 30-point mark on a 3-pointer that turned into a four-point play, his NBA-leading 15th such play this season. He scored 42 in the game and made eight 3-pointers. He also had six assists and five rebounds. He made all four of his foul shots. The Rockets entered the break with a 33-24 record.

#30: Feb. 11 - Houston Rockets 120, Dallas Mavericks 104

The Rockets took it to the Mavs at the Toyota Center to get back in the win column. Harden scored 31 points, had eight rebounds, seven assists and five steals. He was perfect (7-for-7) from the free-throw line and his six 3-pointers. It was maybe his most exciting path to the 30-point mark, considering he had only scored 20 points with 2:31 left in the game. He went on a scoring barrage in the next 99 seconds, hitting a trio of 3-pointers and a pair of free throws to push past the mark.

#29: Feb. 9 - Oklahoma City Thunder 117, Houston Rockets 112

The Thunder crashed the Rockets' modest win streak at Toyota Center, by coming back from a 26-point deficit. Harden scored 42 and made 14 of his 15 free throws. he hit six 3-pointers, but didn't record much else on the stat sheet.

#28: Feb. 6 - Houston Rockets 127, Sacramento Kings 101

The Rockets made it three in a row with a win at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento. Harden scored 36 and hit eight 3-pointers. He was a perfect 2-for-2 from the charity stripe and grabbed six rebounds.

#27: Feb. 4 - Houston Rockets 118, Phoenix Suns 110

Harden didn't mind his trip to Talking Stick Resort Arena in the desert. He scored 44 points while attempting 26 shots and added eight rebounds, six assists and three steals. He was 9-of-11 from the free-throw line and made five 3-pointers.

#26: Feb. 2 - Houston Rockets 125, Utah Jazz 98

Houston hopped back on the win train with a visit to Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City. Harden kept his streak alive by dropping 43 with 12 rebounds and six steals. He also had five assists and four blocks. Healthy stat line. He was a perfect 15-for-15 from the free-throw line and made four 3-pointers.

#25: Feb. 1 - Denver Nuggets 136, Houston Rockets 122

A visit to Denver didn't turn out the way Houston expected. Harden scored 30, his lowest output since that 29-point effort on Dec. 11. He dished out nine assists and made seven 3-pointers in the contest. He was uncharacteristically off at the charity stripe, making just 5-of-9 free throws.

#24: Jan. 29 - New Orleans Pelicans 121, Houston Rockets 116

The Pels shocked the Rockets at the Toyota Center without Anthony Davis, Julius Randle or Nikola Mirotic. Harden's streak, however, was not broken. He scored 37 points to go along with 11 rebounds. He also had six assists and four steals. Harden hit six 3-pointers and nine of his 10 free throw attempts.

#23: Jan. 27 - Houston Rockets 103, Orlando Magic 98

Houston ran its winning streak to three games with a win over the Magic. Harden scored 40 points and snagged 11 rebounds. He hit 8-of-9 free throws and dished out six assists.

#22: Jan. 25 - Houston Rockets 121, Toronto Raptors 119

The Rockets came home and took care of business against the Raptors. Harden scored 35 points and dished out seven assists. He hit all 15 of his free throws, but shot only 2-of-13 from distance. Houston moved to 28-20 on the season.

#21: Jan. 23 - Houston Rockets 114, New York Knicks 110

Madison Square Harden. Need we say more? Harden erupted for a franchise-record and career-high 61 points in a win over the Knicks in Manhattan. He sealed the game with a steal and dunk in the final seconds. Oh, he also grabbed 15 rebounds and five steals. He his 22 free throws (25 attempts) and five 3-pointers. Another classic, so, if you've forgotten, go watch this game again.

#20: Jan. 21 - Philadelphia 76ers 121, Houston Rockets 93

A visit to the Wells Fargo Center didn't bode well for the Rockets, but Harden's streak stayed alive thanks to six 3-pointers and seven free throws. In total, he scored 37, grabbed six rebounds and had three assists. He only played 30 minutes in the game with the game so lopsided in the second half, his fourth-lowest minutes total of the season.

#19: Jan. 19 - Houston Rockets 138, Los Angeles Lakers 134

Houston bounced back with a win over L.A. at the Toyota Center. Harden scored 48 to go along with eight rebounds, six assists and four steals. He hit eight 3-pointers and 12 free throws.

#18: Jan. 16 - Brooklyn Nets 145, Houston Rockets 142

He did is again. Harden scored at least 57 points in back-to-back games. This time going off for 58 points in an overtime loss to the Nets at the Toyota Center. To go along with his 50-burger, he snagged 10 rebounds and dished out six assists. He hit 12-of-23 free throws and five 3-pointers (19 attempts).

#17: Jan. 14 - Houston Rockets 112, Memphis Grizzlies 94

The Rockets returned home and got a win over the Grizzlies. Harden put up 57 points and snagged nine rebounds. He made six 3-pointers and 17-of-18 free throws. Houston moved to 25-18 on the season.

#16: Jan. 13 - Orlando Magic 116, Houston Rockets 109

A visit to Orlando ended with a Rockets' loss and a pitiful long-distance shooting performance. Harden's streak stayed alive, though. He scored 38 points, had 12 assists and nine rebounds. In one of the worst 3-point shooting performances of all time, he made just one of his 17 3-pointers in the game. He was 15-of-16 at the free-throw line. He also had four steals.

#15: Jan. 11 - Houston Rockets 141, Cleveland Cavaliers 113

Harden was perfect from the free-throw line in a 28-point win over the Cavs at the Toyota Center, making all 11 of his attempts en route to a 43-point triple-double. He snagged 10 rebounds and recorded 12 assists. He also had a pair of steals and blocks and made eight 3-pointers.

#14: Jan. 9 - Milwaukee Bucks 116, Houston Rockets 109

Harden eclipsed the 40-point barrier yet again in a loss to the Bucks at the Toyota Center. He scored 42 points to go along with 11 rebounds and six assists. He made six 3-pointers and 10-of-11 free throws. The Rockets fell to 23-17 on the year.

#13: Jan. 7 - Houston Rockets 125, Denver Nuggets 113

The Rockets found their winning ways upon their return to the Toyota Center. Harden scored 32 points to go along with 14 assists. He hit six 3-pointers and 12-of-15 free throws.

#12: Jan. 5 - Portland Trail Blazers 110, Houston Rockets 101

Houston's six-game winning streak ended in Portland. Harden scored 38 points, making all seven of his free throws and five 3-pointers. He also dished out seven assists.

#11: Jan. 3 - Houston Rockets 135, Golden State Warriors 134

No Rockets fan should ever forget this game, and if you have, you need to go watch it again. James Harden was a lightning bolt in the Bay Area. He scored 44 points (his fifth straight 40+ point game), including the dagger in overtime. He also dished out 15 assists and grabbed 10 rebounds. He hit 10 3-pointers, tying his career high. His last basket in regulation was a 3-pointer that forced overtime (neither team scored in the final 51 seconds after Harden's shot). His last basket in overtime was a 3-pointer with two seconds remaining to give the Rockets a one-point lead. Incredible.

#10: Dec. 31 - Houston Rockets 113, Memphis Grizzlies 101

The Rockets treated their home fans to a New Year's Eve to remember. Harden closed the door on 2018 by posting a triple-double: 43 points (his fourth straight 40+ point game), 13 assists and 10 rebounds. He made 21-of-27 free throws and hit six 3-pointers.

#9: Dec. 29 - Houston Rockets 108, New Orleans Pelicans 104

The Rockets got the W in the Smoothie King Center and moved to 20-15 on the year. Harden scored 41 (his third straight 40+ point game) to go along with nine rebounds, six assists, three steals and two blocks. He hit seven 3-pointers and all 14 of his free throws.

#8: Dec. 27 - Houston Rockets 127, Boston Celtics 113

Houston ran its streak to three-straight wins by topping the Celtics at the Toyota Center. Harden put up 45 points with nine 3-pointers made and also hit 14 of his 17 free throws.

#7: Dec. 25 - Houston Rockets 113, Oklahoma City Thunder 109

The best Christmas present ever: A Rockets win at the Toyota Center. And that's what we got, thanks to Harden's 41 points, seven assists and six rebounds. The win put the Rockets at 18-15.

#6: Dec. 22 - Houston Rockets 108, San Antonio 101

The Rockets started another win streak by topping the Spurs at Toyota Center. Harden did his thing and posted 39 points and 10 assists to go along with four rebounds and two steals. He hit seven 3-pointers and 8-of-9 free throws.

#5: Dec. 20 - Miami Heat 101, Houston Rockets 99

Houston's five-game winning streak came to an end in Miami, but Harden's streak stayed alive. He posted 35 points, 12 assists and six rebounds. He hit 15-of-18 free throws and added a pair of steals.

#4: Dec. 19 - Houston Rockets 136, Washington Wizards 118

Harden lifted the Rockets to a 16-14 record with 35 points, nine assists, three rebounds and two steals. He made all 9 of his free throws and 6-of-11 3-pointers.

#3: Dec. 17 - Houston Rockets 102, Utah Jazz 97

Harden treated the home crowd to 47 points, including 15-of-16 free throws and four 3-pointers. He also chipped in six rebounds, five assists and five steals.

#2: Dec. 15 - Houston Rockets 105, Memphis Grizzlies 97

At the FedEx Forum in Memphis, Harden logged his second-straight triple-double. This time, he posted 32 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists and two steals.

#1: Dec. 13 - Houston Rockets 126, Los Angeles Lakers 111

Harden cooked the Lakers for 50 points, 11 assists, 10 rebounds and two steals at the Toyota Center. He made 18 of his 19 free-throw attempts and four 3-pointers. Who knew at the time the 30-point streak was underway?