James Harden would not stop scoring against the San Antonio Spurs.
The Houston Rockets guard finished Friday's 111-105 win with 61 points to match his career high and give him eight games this season with at least 50 points. It's also the 17th time he's scored 50-plus in his career, tying him with Los Angeles Lakers legend Elgin Baylor for fourth on the all-time leaderboard.
He's also the only player this season with multiple 60-point performances.
Though he won't break Wilt Chamberlain's record of 45 games with at least 50 points from the 1961-62 campaign, he can match Kobe Bryant's count of 10 such games in 2006-07.
Harden kick-started his offensive show early, dropping 27 points in the first quarter to outscore the Spurs by himself. He shot 10-of-14 from the field (3-of-4 from three) and converted on 10 of his 12 trips to the free-throw line. Harden fell just three points shy of Houston's franchise record for most points scored in a single quarter, but he did match Brooklyn Nets point guard D'Angelo Russell for the most in one frame this season.
Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni was hard-pressed after the game to put the play of his superstar guard into historical perspective.
"I don't know how you get any better," D'Antoni said, according to Michael C. Wright of ESPN. "Whoever was in the gym tonight probably (saw) something they have never seen before. There's no way. That was one of the best performances - the magnitude of the game, we needed it - just everything."
Harden finished 9-of-13 from beyond the arc Friday, vaulting him past Joe Johnson for 10th in career 3-pointers.
Harden has now scored 50-plus points in two consecutive games after dropping 57 in Wednesday's overtime loss to the Memphis Grizzlies.