James Harden is one of the best scorers in the NBA when he is at the top of his game. To start this season, however, Harden has mostly deferred to none other than Kevin Durant, which has ultimately altered his ability to pad stats. Heading into last night's game against the New Orleans Pelicans, Harden had yet to score 30 points in a game this season, although he ultimately broke out with a 39-point performance that allowed his team to take home the victory.
While speaking to reporters after the game, Harden spoke about his performance and how it had been a long time coming. Harden still believes he has been playing well, however, he has set such a high standard for himself that any deviation from the norm has people scratching their heads.
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images"I'm getting there," Harden said via ESPN. "It wasn't going to take long. I mean, this is the highest [level] in the sport is the NBA, the most talented players in this world. So it's not going to be easy for me to just come out there and do what I do. It takes a lot of hard work to be playing at a point to which you guys have seen me play at. When I'm not scoring 30 points, when I'm averaging 18-some points, it's like, 'What's wrong with James?' It's pretty solid still. I've been playing so well and so extremely at another level to where you guys set standards for me, and I set standards for myself as well. For me, I just continue to work. I feel a lot better, and the work don't stop.
Without Kyrie Irving, the Nets have maintained a solid record of 9-4 which puts them at the top of the Eastern Conference standings. With Harden and Durant playing fantastic basketball, there is no doubt that this team is a threat to win it all.