James Harden’s 61-Point Burst Thrills Crowd, Kills Morale

Jalen Rose gives Harden his props for scoring binge but says “it ain’t fun” for any of his teammates. 

James Harden‘s 61 points against the Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night is a Houston Rockets franchise-record for a single game scoring output. 



It’s the second most scored in The Garden to Melo’s 62 against Charlotte on this day in 2014. 



Basketball fans, infatuated with inflated point totals, have been reveling in Harden’s one-man show. He’s become the modern day Wilt Chamberlain, ripping off 30-point, 40, even 60-point outputs in a mythical stretch that has thrust him into the record books.

The Beard has scored 261 points in his last five games.



Proper perspective is always lost and emotion takes over when these unprecedented feats occur. 

Houston is 27-20 and in fifth place in the Western Conference. That’s respectable, considering how bad they started and the injuries they’ve endured.

But thrusting Harden to the top of the MVP battle and calling him the greatest offensive force in history is the hyperbole that comes along with social-media driven narratives. 

It’s the same thing they were saying about Kevin Durant a few years back when he had to carry an OKC team without Westbrook and with no shot of winning a championship.

Then Russell Westbrook  was that guy when he had the first triple-double season since Oscar and won the MVP.  Cats were calling him the best player in the game.

The NBA is going to juice this. Marketing is always the league’s first play and if the fans like it. Adam Silver and the crew love it.



There’s a flip side to Harden’s illy isolation game that doesn’t fit the hype. The unbelievable workload he’s carrying every night will probably wear him out by the playoffs. More importantly, says ESPN’s Jalen Rose, Harden’s ball domination  has a horrible effect on the rest of the team. It’s not conducive to winning a championship. 

“You never get tired of shooting,” Rose said. “He gets to rest on defense…and by the way, as a teammate, to be 100… everybody gets to enjoy watching James Harden put up these numbers, but as a teammate it ain’t fun playing with a guy who’s isolating all the time and shooting all the time. IT AIN’T fun!  You’re spotting up. You’re cold… Everybody gets a chance to stare at the ball and (the guy with the ball) is not staring at you. So when you get this opportunity , you have to put up historical numbers.”

That’s exactly what Harden is doing and ’nuff’ respect to him. He’s a killer with the pill. Entertaining as hell  and he didn’t get caught in the Kardashian curse.

What more can you ask for from a player?

JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The General Manager of Content & Social Media is in his 25th year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, newspapers, magazines and national TV. His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.