History-making Harden 'probably' better than ever

James Harden is the first player to score 35 points or more and provide at least five assists in eight consecutive NBA games.

Reigning NBA MVP James Harden   -  Getty Images

James Harden believes he is probably playing the best basketball of his career after making history in the Houston Rockets' win over the Memphis Grizzlies on New Year's Eve.

The reigning MVP ended 2018 by becoming the first player to score 35 points or more and provide at least five assists in eight consecutive NBA games.

Harden put on another dazzling show at Toyota Center, scoring 43 points, laying on 13 assists and clutching 10 rebounds in a 113-101 victory.

The irrepressible guard replied "probably" with a smile when asked if he feels he is performing better than ever.

Harden added: "I'm just being aggressive, I'm just in attack mode.

"They tried to shake some things up tonight and run a double team at me and whatnot. I did a poor job of just not controlling the basketball, basically giving them transition points on my turnover.

"I've got to take care of the ball more, but just continue to be aggressive and make plays for my team."

A different level

Mike D'Antoni lavished praise on his star man after another outstanding showing.

"He could have had 60 [points] tonight if we had spaced him out a little bit and he didn't have to come back so early in the fourth quarter and in different circumstances." said the Rockets head coach. 

"He's just got a mastery of the game. They're double teaming him and we just get our guys by. That won't happen most of the time."

Quizzed if Harden is playing better than ever, he added: "I haven't seen his whole life, but in the last three years... I don't know how you get any better than what he's playing.

"Defensively too, offensively, he comes up with steals, triple double like it's nothing. He's playing a different level."