James Harden scored a season-high 57 points to help the Houston Rockets secure a 112-94 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday night.
It is the 17th straight game that 2018 MVP Harden has registered 30 points or more – the longest such streak by any player in the NBA since Wilt Chamberlain in 1964.
Harden’s latest heroics were also timely as they came on the back of the news that center Clint Capela faces between four to six weeks on the sidelines with a thumb injury.
Houston had lost two of their previous three games – against the Milwaukee Bucks and the Orlando Magic – and Harden acknowledged it was crucial they returned to winning ways.
“I know that we had to win the game,” Harden told reporters. “I know we let one slip away last night and it was another opportunity for us to win tonight.
“I don’t know if it was an emotional lift, but I know it’s crunch time in the sense that we’ve got three starters out and guys have got to pick up the slack. There’s no excuse.”
Monday’s result leaves the Rockets fifth in the Western Conference standings and they are back in action on Wednesday when they welcome the Brooklyn Nets to the Toyota Center.
Houston won the last of their four Conference titles back in 1995 and are priced at 7.50 to add to that tally this season.