Mike D'Antonio Praises 'Unbelievable' James Harden Performance After Kobe Bryant Memorial

Michael Shapiro

It's been a long two weeks for James Harden. 

The 11-year veteran spent his All-Star break in Chicago, then played a pair of games on the road at Golden State and at Utah once the season resumed on Feb. 20. Monday provided another dose of fatigue. Harden spent the morning in Los Angeles for Kobe Bryant's memorial service, and he then flew to Houston for the Rockets' win over the Knicks. But Harden didn't appear to be burdened by his busy travel schedule on Monday night.

The NBA's scoring leader poured in 37 points against the Knicks in Houston's 123-112 victory, including 31 points in the first half. Harden converted 10 of his 14 field goals at the rim on Monday, and he sent Dennis Smith Jr. to the floor in the first quarter with one of the season's nastiest crossovers. After a hectic two weeks, Harden returned to the Toyota Center on Monday night in midseason form. 

Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni marveled at Harden's consistency following Monday's victory.

"It’s unbelievable what [Harden] can do tired, distracted or not in his routine. He just keeps plugging away," D'Antoni said postgame. "He doesn't miss games or minutes. He just plays."

Harden's performance on Monday continues a strong stretch for the 2017-18 MVP. Harden is averaging 33.3 points per game since Feb. 1, shooting 47.6% from the field and 37.1% from three. With Harden's strange shooting woes now in the rearview mirror, the Rockets approach March with both of their MVPs playing at an All-NBA level.

Houston advanced to 37–20 with Monday's victory, good for No. 4 in the Western Conference. The Rockets will host the Grizzlies on Wednesday, with tip-off from the Toyota Center slated for 7 p.m. CT.