James Harden is widely regarded as one of the best shooting guards to ever take the court.
Nowadays, he’s solidifying a different legacy as a playmaker.
In the Philadelphia 76ers’ 119-114 victory against the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday night, Harden notched a franchise record-tying 21 assists. The record is also held by both Wilt Chamberlain (Feb. 2, 1968) and Maurice Cheeks (Oct. 30, 1982).
Not bad company to be grouped with.
“That’s rare company,” Harden said postgame. “Mo Cheeks was one of my coaches in OKC and then Wilt, I feel like he has every record. Just always being in the conversation of some of the best basketball players to touch a basketball is a blessing. Hopefully, I can keep going and get more records.”
En route to the record, Harden tied his career-high of 17 assists with over 11 minutes left in the fourth quarter. In a critical fourth quarter, Harden had five total assists to reach the franchise record, all without knowing it.
“I wish someone would have told me that,” Harden joked. “I would’ve tried to get 22! Or I would have been pissed at one of my teammates for missing a layup or an easy shot.
“Nah, I’m just playing.”
Harden is making plays, seems happy doing it, and is making them happen all over the court.
From in transition...
To in the paint...
It was a great night for Harden and the Sixers all around, with the home team overcoming a 20-point deficit to come from behind and beat the Clippers to extend their win streak to seven straight. A huge key to that winning streak has been the partnership between Harden and Joel Embiid.
Harden is averaging over 10 dimes a game, and has been the fuel on the fire of Embiid’s recent stellar offensive performances. In the big man’s 44-point night against the Clippers, Harden assisted 22 of his points.
And Harden is doing it without giving the ball away very much at all. In Friday’s game, he had just three turnovers. That’s a 7 to 1 assist to turnover ratio.
Harden also notched his 70th career triple-double with 20 points, 11 rebounds, and his career-high 21 assists on Friday night.