James Harden drops 60 points in just three quarters in dominant win against Atlanta

Ryan YoungYahoo Sports Contributor

It didn’t take James Harden long to notch yet another historic performance on Saturday night.

In fact, it took him less than 31 minutes.

Harden dropped 60 points in the first three quarters of the Houston Rockets’ 158-111 win against the Atlanta Hawks at the Toyota Center on Saturday, marking his fourth career 60-point game.

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Only Wilt Chamberlain and Kobe Bryant have more.

“That’s greatness right there. Those guys are something that I’m trying to get to,” Harden said. “Hopefully when it’s all said and done, I can be mentioned in that group forever. Still a work in progress, but we’re working to get there.”

Harden shot 16-of-24 from the field and 8-of-14 from the 3-point line in the dominant outing. His 24 field goal attempts mark the fewest ever in a 60-point game, surpassing Karl Malone. 

Atlanta simply had no answer for him, either, and couldn’t keep up offensively whatsoever. 

After taking a brief three-point lead in the first quarter, the Hawks fell fast. They finished the opening period with just 21 points, and soon found themselves in a massive 58-point hole near the end of the third quarter. 

By that point, the game was long over. Harden, who added 20 of his 60 points from the free throw line, sat out the entire fourth quarter while the Rockets finalized the 47-point win.

“He just didn’t feel us. He didn’t feel us with the doubles. He didn’t feel us with the blitz. He didn’t feel us with the extra defender running out at him,” Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce said. “A lot of their guys have confidence ... It’s kind of who James is, and it was amplified tonight.”

Harden, who added eight assists and three rebounds on the night, was just one point away from tying his career high, too.

Ben McLemore dropped 24 points and had a career-high 13 rebounds for Houston in the win. Russell Westbrook added 15 points, eight assists and eight rebounds.

Trae Young led the Hawks with an impressive offensive night of his own, finishing with 37 points and seven assists while shooting 10-of-16 from the field. De’Andre Hunter added 14 points, and Jabari Parker dropped 11.

In just 30 minutes on Saturday night, James Harden dropped 60 points to lead Houston past Atlanta in dominant fashion. (AP/Michael Wyke)
In just 30 minutes on Saturday night, James Harden dropped 60 points to lead Houston past Atlanta in dominant fashion. (AP/Michael Wyke)

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