The last time James Harden played the Atlanta Hawks, he lit them up for 60 points....today it was more of the same as he led them to a 122-115 win on the road.
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Harden poured in 41 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, for his second triple-double in a row and third of the season.
He now has 14 career 40-point triple-doubles, the second-most in NBA history, only trailing Oscar Robertson with 22, per Elias Sports Bureau.
While Harden filled it up for the Rockets, he was locked in a back-and-forth battle with Trae Young, who poured in a monster triple-double of his own with 42 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists, making it the first time with two 40-point triple-doubles in the same game in NBA history.
Young's effort was also the first 40-point triple-double in Hawks franchise history.
James Harden picked up his 15th 40-point triple-double (2nd-most in NBA history) and Trae Young had the first 40-point triple-double in Hawks history.- ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 9, 2020
According to @EliasSports, tonight marks the first time with two 40-point triple-doubles in the same game in NBA history. pic.twitter.com/gfcXd4h8xS
After pouring in 22 points in the first quarter, Harden went just 3-of-25 from the field for the rest of the game and 1-of-14 from three.
The Beard drops 22 PTS in the 1Q❗️- NBA (@NBA) January 9, 2020
2Q underway ➡️ https://t.co/lZZApswzuX pic.twitter.com/7YEyvzYCPe
He toyed with the Hawks defence, with a dizzying combination of drives and three-pointers early, and despite the Hawks' best efforts to foul, he made them pay at the free-throw line, hitting 19-of-23 at the line.
With Harden struggling to recapture his shooting touch after the first quarter, the Hawks outscored the Rockets in each of the next three-quarters, but were unable to get over the final hurdle.
They pulled to within three points late in the fourth at 118-115, but Harden put the finishing touches on the win at the charity stripe, burying four free throws in the final 10.4 seconds to seal the win.
Clint Capela added 22 points and 22 rebounds, while P.J. Tucker hailed in 17 boards of his own. With Russell Westbrook sitting, Ben McLemore chipped in 18 points, Eric Gordon 17 and Austin Rivers 10.