James Harden has been playing out of his mind this season and the Los Angeles Lakers have been one of his favorite teams to play against.
In the three games the Rockets have gone head-to-head with the Lakers this season, Harden has averaged 44.7 points per game on 50.7 percent shooting from the field, and 41.5 percent shooting from behind the arc. He’s also averaged 8.3 rebounds, 7.3 assists and 2.7 steals per game.
Some might look at that and think the Lakers have just done a bad job at staying in front of him, but Harden has done this to just about every team this season, especially in January.
Over his last three games, Harden has poured in 163 points. According to NBA.com, the last player to do reach that point total over three games was Kobe Bryant in 2007.
Harden and Bryant have been mentioned in the same conversations a lot lately because no one has gone on a dominant scoring run like this since Bryant. Even Lakers head coach Luke Walton, who spent eight years playing alongside Bryant, told Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle that Harden’s run has been Kobe-esque.
“It’s about like that,” Walton said. “I remember when Kobe was doing it, as his teammates we were sitting there almost laughing every game. It was incredible to witness. I didn’t think I’d see anything like it again, at least not this soon after.
“They’re different. I don’t like to compare them. Just enjoy them for what they are. Obviously not the last time we played them (Dec. 13.) What he’s doing to other teams, it’s fun to watch.”
Seeing Harden has been anything but “fun” for Lakers fans, as the Rockets have beaten L.A. in all three of their meetings this season, with their latest loss coming on Saturday behind a game-high 48 points from Harden.
Luckily, the Lakers only have to see Harden and the Rockets one more time this season in February. Hopefully Harden has cooled off by then.