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by: Kris Gardner, United States Basketball Writers Association member. Credentialed media member since 1997. USBWA approved online journalist. Voter of Lowe's Senior CLASS, Naismith, USBWA, and Wooden awards.
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James Harden Named All-NBA First Team
Harden a unanimous First Team choice for 3rd consecutive season
Posted: May 23, 2019 -- 1:31 p.m. CT
The NBA announced that Houston Rockets guard James Harden was named All-NBA First Team. Harden was selected to the First Team on all 100 ballots -- for the third straight season -- submitted by a global panel of sportswriters and broadcasters. Harden is the only player to be named All-NBA First Team in each of the past three seasons.
Harden has been named All-NBA in six of his seven seasons as a Rocket (Third Team in 2012-13; First Team in 2013-14, 2014-15, 2016-17, 2017-18, and 2018-'19). Hakeem Olajuwon (12) is the only other Rocket with more than five All-NBA selections.
Joining Harden on the 2018-19 All-NBA First Team are Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (unanimous choice, 500 points); Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (482 points; 91 First Team votes), Oklahoma City Thunder forward Paul George (433 points; 71 First Team votes) and Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (411 points; 59 First Team votes).
This season, Harden averaged 36.1 points (1st in NBA), 7.5 assists (7th in NBA), 6.6 rebounds and 2.03 steals (2nd in NBA). He became the first player in NBA history to have averaged at least 35.0 ppg and 7.0 apg in a single season and joined Michael Jordan (1988-89) as the only players to have averaged at least 30.0 points per game, 7.0 assists per game, 6.0 rebounds per game, and 2.00 steals per game.
Over a span of 40 games played from December 8 through March 8, Harden averaged 40.1 points per game, 7.1 assists per game, 7.0 rebounds per game and 2.2 steals per game. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that was the second-longest span of averaging 40 or more points in NBA history. The Rockets were 28-12 in those games despite Clint Capela missing 14 of those games, Eric Gordon missing nine, and Chris Paul missing 18.
The Rockets were 12-14 through games played on December 12 and had the second-lowest winning percentage (.462) in the Western Conference. Harden scored 50 points against the Los Angeles Lakers on December 13, marking the first of 32 consecutive games scoring at least 30 points which is the second-longest in league history. From the start of Harden's streak through the end of the regular season, Houston had the second-best winning percentage (.732) of any team.
Harden led the NBA in scoring by 8.09 points per game, marking the highest differential between the league's top two qualified scorers since Wilt Chamberlain outscored Elgin Baylor by 10.84 ppg in 1962-63. Harden scored 40 or more points 28 times this season, including 50 or more nine times, and 60 plus twice. The Rockets won 75% of his 40-point games (21-7 mark).
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