Russell Westbrook has been amazed by James Harden’s heroics since joining the Houston Rockets, declaring “nobody else” in the NBA can match his team-mate’s exploits.
Harden came to the fore again on Monday when his 36 points, six rebounds and five assists led the Rockets to an emphatic 132-108 home win over the Portland Trail Blazers.
Such has been his astonishing form in the early part of the 2019-20 season, that display led to his league-leading scoring average dropping to 39.2.
Westbrook also impressed with a triple-double of 28 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists and called on fans to realise what they were witnessing from Harden was something extraordinary.
“I think that a lot of people like to normalise greatness when you see it over and over again, but it’s not normal because there’s nobody else that can do it,” Westbrook said, per ESPN, after the Rockets’ win moved them to 11-3.
“If it was normal, everybody would do it.
“He’s put himself in position to be one of the best offensive scorers of all time because of the way that he’s able to score the ball at a high level in a variety of ways.”
Portland, who are set to sign Carmelo Anthony, dropped to 5-9 and head coach Terry Stotts joked of Harden: “For him, he had a subpar night!”
Harden himself attempted not to dwell on his ballooning personal statistics, declaring “I just want to win games” as he took another step towards a third consecutive scoring title.
Houston head coach Mike D’Antoni, meanwhile, was on the same page as Westbrook.
The Rockets have won eight straight games, with Harden scoring at least 35 in all of them.
“It’s unbelievable, I’m at a loss for words,” D’Antoni said of Harden. “What he does, you can’t do that. I’ve never seen it.
“I know I’ve said he’s the best offensive player I’ve ever seen. Well, he is. I haven’t coached everybody, but he’s so good at what he does.
“You might like it, you might not like it – I don’t know how you don’t like it. I don’t think we’ve ever seen it like this.”
The returning Clint Capela added 22 points and 20 rebounds for the rampant Rockets, who look to make it nine in a row on the road against the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday.