3. The 61-point performance at Madison Square Garden
Within days of posting back-to-back 50-point performances and extending his 30-point streak to 20 games, Harden would soon follow up his latest act with a Broadway-esque performance that took place on one of basketball’s most hallowed grounds.
In a road contest against an inferior New York Knicks squad, Harden put on an offensive clinic to remember, posting a career-high 61 points and 15 rebounds in the Rockets’ 114-110 victory at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 23.
"“This is one of the historical buildings in the sport that we have,” Harden told reporters after his grand performance in The Big Apple. “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…That’s why this place is special.”"
Although Harden struggled to find a consistent rhythm from long range for most of the affair, the 6’5″, 220-pound guard proved to be no match for Knicks defenders throughout the evening.
In conjunction with utilizing his defense to help Houston seal the win, Harden capped off his incredible night with a steal and fast break dunk to become the first NBA player since Shaquille O’Neal in 2000 to finish a game with a 60-point, 15-rebound stat line.