Houston Rockets star James Harden notched a career-high 50 points in Thursday’s win over the Denver Nuggets as he boosted his MVP case in the process.
With Dwight Howard still sidelined with injury, the Rockets guard has stepped up in a big way as the team improves to 46-22 for the season.
On a night when the franchise celebrated the 20th anniversary of the their back-to-back NBA titles in 1994 and 1995, Harden ensured that they had even more reason to celebrate with the likes of Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler watching from the front row.
Harden insisted that the current group are trying to build something similarly special, as he surpassed his previous career-high of 46 points set in 2013.
Elsewhere, the Minnesota Timberwolves claimed an overtime win over the New York Knicks at MSG, with Gorgui Dieng finishing with 19 points and 11 rebounds while Kevin Martin (22 points) and Andrew Wiggins (20) played key roles too.
It ended a six-game losing streak for the visitors who moved to 15-53 for the season, snapping their tie with the Knicks (14-54) for the worst record in the NBA.
Langston Galloway scored 21 points while Alexey Shved had 20 for the Knicks, but while coach Derek Fisher gets a few impressive performances from certain players, the franchise will know that they are now in pole position for the No.1 Draft pick.
The Utah Jazz defeated the Los Angeles Lakers behind 22 points from Gordon Hayward, with the Lakers falling to a new low in losing their 50th game of the season.
They reached the 50-loss mark for the second straight season and for only the fifth time in the franchise’s 67-year history.
However, the big loss of the night came in Phoenix with the Suns defeating the New Orleans Pelicans who suffered a double blow on Thursday.
Anthony Davis was absent with a sprained ankle, and the loss drops them to 37-31 for the season as they fall a game behind the Oklahoma City Thunder for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Minnesota Timberwolves 95-92 New York Knicks
Denver Nuggets 108-118 Houston Rockets
New Orleans Pelicans 72-74 Phoenix Suns
Utah Jazz 80-73 Los Angeles Lakers