Rockets star Harden sets NBA mark
Rockets star Harden soars to first 60-point triple-double in NBA history
James Harden became the first player in NBA history to record a 60-point triple-double as the short-handed Houston Rockets defeated the Orlando Magic 114-107 yesterday morning (Singapore time).
The 60 points were also a franchise single-game record as he surpassed Calvin Murphy, who scored 57 points in 1978.
Murphy was in attendance at the game as a member of the Rockets' Root Sports television broadcasting crew.
Harden reached the 60-point milestone with a four-point play, stepping back and draining a three-pointer while being fouled by Mario Hezonja.
He then made the free-throw as the Toyota Center crowd rose to its feet.
Murphy smiled and clapped as his scoring mark fell by the wayside.
"Tonight, I was ultra aggressive," said Harden.
"I was in attack mode."
Harden collected his 10th rebound just moments later to earn his third triple-double this season.
He made 17 of 18 free-throws and was 19 of 30 from the field with five baskets from beyond the arc. He also had four steals and one block.
Harden scored 18 points in the final quarter to record his ninth career 50-point game.
"I was so locked in and focused on how I could impact the game. Even the coach talking, I couldn't hear him at all," Harden said.
"It feels like any other NBA game, other than I was trying to put the team on my back.
"I was just aggressive. It was a much-needed win for us."
NBA players took to social media to congratulate Harden.
"C'mon @JHarden13!!! Now that's insane G! 60 point Triple Dub. Sheesh!!" wrote Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James.
Murphy tweeted: "Congratulations to @JHarden13 for breaking my record. I've been honored to hold the #Rockets single game scoring record for 40 years. James you are a class act!"
The previous NBA high for a triple-double was 57 points by both Michael Jordan in Dec 1992 and Russell Westbrook in March.
BROKEN LEFT HAND
Over at the Little Caesars Arena, the Cleveland Cavaliers had a torrid outing, losing to the Detroit Pistons 125-114 as star Kevin Love was left with a broken left hand.
Love's exit in the first quarter has the potential to shake up the season for the Cavaliers, who are trying to get back to the NBA Finals for the third straight time.
"It's just unfortunate for our team," Love's teammate James said.
"Obviously, with everything (that's) been going on as of late with our ball club, just trying to figure out how we're going to play every night, different line-ups, and getting everybody into the flow, we don't need to have Kev go out like that.
"He's going to be out for quite a while - maybe two months - so it's just tough."
Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue added: "When it rains, it pours."
Love has a history of hand injuries. In 2012/13 with the Minnesota Timberwolves he missed 62 games after fracturing the third and fourth metacarpals in his right hand and later re-fracturing the third.
In 2009/10, also with the Timberwolves, Love broke the fourth metacarpal in his left hand and missed the first 18 games of the season.
Love was also sidelined for 16 games last season after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his left knee on Feb 14.
The Pistons' Andre Drummond tallied 21 points and 22 rebounds, while Stanley Johnson added a career-high 26 points. Reggie Bullock added 22 points for the Pistons, and Anthony Tolliver scored 20. - AFP
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