James Harden Drops Career-High 61 Points in Win Over Knicks, Breaks More NBA Records

James Harden, Houston Rockets
James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets celebrates the 114-110 over the New York Knicks at the end of the game at Madison Square Garden on January 23 in New York City. Sarah Stier/Getty Images

James Harden's incredible season reached new heights on Wednesday night when he scored more than half of his team's points in one of the NBA's most famous venues.

The reigning MVP scored a career-high 61 points as the Houston Rockets beat the New York Knicks 114-110 at the Madison Square Garden, matching Kobe Bryant's record for most points scored by a visiting player at the arena. Harden's tally was also a franchise record.

The 29-year-old's dunk with 3.8 seconds left sealed the game after the Knicks had turned the ball over and capped yet another superb performance from Harden, who averages a mind-boggling 45.3 points per game this month.

61 PTS | 15 REB

James Harden is the first player to record at least 60 PTS/15 REB in a game since Shaquille O'Neal on March 6, 2000! #Rockets pic.twitter.com/5cvdU3LvxB

— NBA (@NBA) January 24, 2019

Harden has now averaged 40 points per game over the last 25 games, the third-longest run in NBA history behind Wilt Chamberlain and Elgin Baylor whose runs extended over 515 and 33 games, respectively. The Rockets star is also the first player since Chamberlain to score 55 points in three separate occasions in the same calendar month.

To put things into context, he has scored more points over the last 25 games than Kyrie Irving and LeBron James have done throughout the season—although the latter, admittedly, has missed the last 14 games through injury.

Against the Knicks, the six-time All-Star was far from perfect from beyond the arc, hitting just five of his 20 attempts but nevertheless finished with 17-of-38 from the field and made free throws count, converting 22 of 25 attempts from the charity stripe.

Harden's impact wasn't limited to scoring either, as he added 15 rebounds, four assists and four steals, becoming the first player since Shaquille O'Neal in 2000 to record 60 points and 15 rebounds in the same game.

"This is one of the historical buildings in the sport that we have," Harden was quoted as saying by the Associated Press.

"Obviously, the fans are one of the best that we have in this league. And so it's pretty cool to come out here and put on a show for them."

Thank you 🗽NYC for the love.... “The Mecca”❤️ #6️⃣1️⃣ pic.twitter.com/01j0h1CM8U

— James Harden (@JHarden13) January 24, 2019

Harden admitted being a bit confused by the crowd reaction, as he was simultaneously cheered and booed.

"They couldn't figure out what they wanted to do," he explained. "But I appreciate them though, honestly. Tonight they kept me going and made the game exciting for me."

The game was the 21st consecutive occasion in which Harden has scored at least 30 points, surpassing Chamberlain into fourth place in the all-time ranking.

The latter, however, occupies the first three places by virtue of scoring at least 30 points in 65 consecutive games, as well as separate streaks of 31 and 25, respectively.

On Wednesday, Harden became only the fifth player in NBA history to score at least 60 points in multiple games, an achievement only matched by Chamberlain, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan and Baylor.

The quartet are the only players to have more 50-point games in their career than Harden, who brought his career tally up to 14 on Wednesday night with his fifth 50-point performance of the season.