Rockets' James Harden scores 60 in three quarters vs. Hawks

Gary Clark earns next opportunity as illnesses hit Rockets rotation

The Houston guard scored a season-high 60 points in 31 minutes and the Rockets sent the struggling Atlanta Hawks to their 10th straight National Basketball Association (NBA) loss with a 158-111 romp. Coach Mike D'Antoni said, "It's like everything else he does-unbelievable". He was 16 for 24 from the field, hitting 8 threes in 14 attempts.

The Houston Rockets superstar single-handedly ripped the heart out of the Atlanta Hawks as he did as he pleased offensively through three quarters.

"What he's doing has not been seen". "My man was 60 and did not play in the last quarter. Name another player who could do that".

The outburst put him in rare company as he joined Michael Jordan with his fourth 60 point game of his career, now sitting just two games behind Kobe Bryant in second place overall.

He is the only active player to have scored 60 points a couple of times and the third player in 25 seasons to have 60 points in three quarters next to Klay Thompson (2016) and Bryant (2005). He sat out the entire final quarter on the bench.

"Nope", he said before walking off and repeating the word two more times.

As if that weren't bad enough, the Rockets have also been without Clint Capela for three games and Danuel House for four games, who are both starters that happen to be the team's best shot-blockers. With his Houston Rockets leading the Atlanta Hawks by 54 points after 36 minutes, Houston had no need to put him back in the game to push his total any higher. "But he just didn't feel us". The flat effort came a night after the Hawks fell by one point in overtime to the Pacers in a game where Trae Young tied career highs with 49 points and eight 3-pointers.

The 30-year-old was in the zone from the jump, scoring 31 points in the first half as the Rockets raced out to an 81-52 lead at the half, before erupting for 29 points in the third quarter. This is the 20th 50-point game in Harden's career putting him fourth-most in National Basketball Association history. The performance from the Beard marks the 4th time in his career that he's gone for at least 60 points in a game, tying Michael Jordan for 3rd all time in National Basketball Association history doing so.

"I was so close", he said, laughing.

Well, three quarters of a game.

The first half, by Harden's standards, was relatively innocuous.

Asked if he considered leaving Harden in the game, D'Antoni said it was never an option.

Giannis Antetokounmpo (26 points and nine rebounds) once again starred for the Bucks, who hold a two-game lead atop the Eastern Conference. The money magazine reports that he will rake in $55.2 million pre-taxes this season, $38.2 million from salary and $17 million through endorsements.

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