Back in November, the Cavaliers got the better of the Rockets when they were going through a rough patch. This was the last chance for Harden and his men to set the record straight before wrapping up the two-game series, and boy did they deliver. Led by another one of Harden's magnificent performances, the Rockets defeated the visiting Cavaliers by an imposing 141-113 scoreline.
The Rockets improved to 24-17(0.585) for the season as they handed Cleveland their 12th straight loss. The loss was no surprise, keeping in mind that the Cavs have won just three road games in all this season so far. Their most recent loss in Houston meant that they have now dropped 14 of their previous 15 games, solidifying their bottom position on the East leaderboard.
The Cavaliers have been lying in a grave of their own making, as they hold a league-worst 8-35(0.186) record, with an insurmountable 23.5 game gap between them and the East-leading Raptors.
Let's draw out some key takeaways from this win by the surging Rockets over the plummeting Cavaliers side.
#1 James Harden puts up another 40-point triple-double and redefines milestones
The list of records Harden is breaking on a nightly basis is just endless. But we'll try and skim through a few, as he dropped 43 points, pulled down 10 boards and dished out 12 assists against the Cavs in this game.
This is the 15th straight game with him dropping 30 points or more, also setting a franchise record for the 13th game with 40+ points in a season. He also became the first player in the history of the league to record a 40-point triple-double in less than 30 minutes.
In just 29 minutes and 34 seconds, The Beard extended his NBA record to 12 games in a row with at least five made three-pointers(he made eight in this game).
"The step-back 3s, he's perfected that," coach Mike D'Antoni said. "He's got 16 3s and they're all step-backs. I don't know how he does it ... everybody knows what he's doing and he still gets them off, and they're kind of open. They're not forced, so he's just an incredible player."
Also, the guard's total twelve 40-point triple-doubles is now the second most in the history of NBA, as he moved past his former teammate Russell Westbrook on the list.