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by: Kris Gardner, United States Basketball Writers Association member. Credentialed media member since 1997. USBWA approved online journalist. Voter of Katrina McClain, Naismith, USBWA, and Wooden awards.
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James Harden Named Western Conference Player of the Month for December
Posted: January 3, 2019 -- 3:25 p.m. CST
Today, the NBA announced that Houston Rockets James Harden was named NBA Western Conference Player of the Month for December. It marks the sixth time Harden has received the honor in his career, all coming as a Rocket. He is tied with Hakeem Olajuwon for the most Player of the Month awards in franchise history.
The Rockets were 11-4 in December with Harden averaging 36.4 points, 7.9 assists, 5.9 rebounds and 1.80 steals. He scored 40-plus points six times in the month, including each of the final four games, tying for the longest streak by any player since a five-game span by Kobe Bryant in March of 2007.
Over the final 10 games of the month, Harden averaged 40.8 points. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he joined Bryant and Michael Jordan as the only players over the past 30 seasons to have scored at least 400 points over a span of 10 games.
Harden recorded at least 35 points and 5 assists in each of the last eight games of December. According to Elias, that is the longest streak in NBA history. Harden had five double-doubles for the month, including three triple-doubles. He posted his NBA record fourth career 50-point triple double against the Los Angeles Lakers on December 13 and closed out the year with his 10th career 40-point triple-double vs. Memphis on New Years Eve.
For the month, Harden averaged 5.2 3-pointers made on 41.3% shooting. He hit at least five 3-pointers in each of the final seven games, which is tied for the longest streak in NBA history. Harden has hit 152 3-pointers in 33 games played this season. That is the most by any player through the first 33 games played of a season.
Harden is averaging 33.3 points, 8.4 assists, 5.8 rebounds, and 2.09 steals overall this season. The only player to have averaged at least 30.0 ppg, 8.0 apg, 5.0 rpg, and 2.00 spg in a single season was Jordan in 1988-89. Hardens 33.3 ppg would be the highest scoring average by a player since Bryant averaged 35.4 ppg in 2005-06.
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