Duel: James Harden Drops 51 Points To Out-Pace DeMarcus Cousins’ Crazy Triple-Double

After Stephen Curry set the Internet ablaze with his double behind-the-back crossover on one of the best defenders in the league, we thought Curry had added his exclamation mark to a possible MVP this year. Then James Harden came back last night and dropped a carer-high 51 points to out-pace DeMarcus Cousins’ second career triple-double.

As Trevor Ariza said after the game, the Boogie and Beard’s duel “was fun to watch.”

First, let’s look at Cousins’ stat line because it’s rather insane. Here’s what he had done…by halftime:

Yeah, he had 11 points, nine rebounds, six assists, five blocks and two steals in under 20 minutes of action. That’s insane.

Boogie finished with 24 points, 21 rebounds, 10 assists, six blocks, three steals and a partridge in a pear tree.

Only eight guys have put up 20 points and 20 rebounds during a triple double since the 1985-86 season, and only one guy did so with over five blocks — former King Chris Webber.

If you’re wondering why we love Cousins so much, just check out what he said after that monster performance:

“I came in tonight knowing I needed my team to have a great chance of winning this game,” Cousins said. “It wasn’t a game where I could come in and try to do it all by myself. I think a lot of guys made plays tonight. A lot of guys stepped up.”

The Kings still fell, 115-111 because James Harden had flames coming out of his left hand all night. Harden was 8-of-9 from beyond the arc, and 16-of-25 from the field. Of course he also added 11-for-13 from the stripe because no Beard performance is complete without some gimme’s at the line, but he was only trying to keep pace with Cousins’ all-around performance:

“I had to match his energy,” Harden said. “If he takes over the game and he is doing everything, I have to bring that same intensity to even it out. He is a great player and I wanted to match that intensity. He had a great game tonight.”

So much fun to watch these two go at it. In the end, the MVP candidate won out, but all that talk of Cousins shutting it down for the rest of the year, is just that: talk.

(Houston Chronicle; Sacramento Bee; video via @DawkinsMTA)