James Harden said he was happy to give Knicks fans 61 points as the Rockets star reveled in his memorable performance.
Harden became the first NBA player to score 55 points or more three times in a calendar month since Wilt Chamberlain in 1963 in Houston’s 114-110 win over the Knicks on Wednesday.
The reigning MVP has now scored at least 30 in 21 straight games.
Speaking after the game at Madison Square Garden, Harden told reporters: “This is one of the historical buildings in the sport that we have.
CAREER-HIGH 61 PTS
@HoustonRockets franchise record PTS in a game
Ties @kobebryant most PTS at current MSG by opponent
The Beard put on a show in NYC! #Rockets pic.twitter.com/HRbRuI9MLT
— NBA (@NBA) January 24, 2019
“Obviously, the fans are one of the best that we have in this league. And so it’s pretty cool to come out here and put on a show for them.”
Harden, who also had 15 rebounds and was 22 of 25 from the free-throw line, matched Kobe Bryant’s 2009 mark for a visiting player at Madison Square Garden.
Madison Square Harden pic.twitter.com/FAC70mPGlC
— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) January 24, 2019
There was a mix of boos and cheers throughout the historic performance in New York, and Harden added: “They couldn’t figure out what they wanted to do. I appreciate them, honestly.
“They kept me going and made the game exciting for me … That’s why this place is special. I’m just happy to give them 61.”