James Harden, Russell Westbrook on Pace For Historic Production in 2019-20
How has the Russell Westbrook-James Harden pairing worked out through 54 games? By one metric, historically well.
The Rockets' dynamic duo is currently the only pair of teammates in NBA history to average 25 points and seven assists per game in the same season. Harden enters the All-Star break leading the league in scoring at 35.3 points per game, adding 7.3 assists. He's on pace for some solo NBA history as well, posting the second 35 PPG, seven APG season since the league was established in 1946-47. Harden became the lone member of the 35 and seven club in 2018-19 as he finished second in the MVP voting behind Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Westbrook lagged as a scorer in his first 30 contests of 2019-20. He averaged just 24.1 points per game through New Year's Eve, struggling to find a rhythm in Houston's three-heavy attack. But a new decade appears to have brought back the Westbrook of old.
Houston's point guard is on an absolute tear since the calendar turned to 2020. He's averaging 34 points per game in his last 14 appearances, adding 8.1 assists. Westbrook has been impressively efficient amid his scoring tear. The 2016-17 MVP is shooting 53% from the field since Jan. 9, and that mark rises to a dominant 60.3% on drives to the rim. The lane is clear for Westbrook with center Clint Capela now in Atlanta, and Houston's small-ball strategy has thus far paid off in a major way. As Harden struggled with his shot to kick off 2020, Westbrook carried the load.
Harden and Westbrook have shined in their own right this season, though they've yet to truly dominate when sharing the floor. The duo is averaging 110.4 points per 100 possessions in 1,157 minutes together this season, a mark that would rank No. 15 in the NBA in 2019-20.
The Rockets enter the All-Star break fifth in the Western Conference at 34–20. Both Harden and Westbrook will play in Sunday's All-Star Game in Chicago, then kick off the season's final stretch in Golden State on Feb. 20.
Tip-off from the Chase Center in San Francisco is slated for 9:30 p.m. CT.