The combination of Harden and Westbrook not only led the Rockets to a 9-2 record last month, putting themselves in great position for the NBA playoffs, but also made a bit of history in the process.
The Houston Rockets capped off February in style
The Houston Rockets were one of the best teams in the NBA in February. They went 9-2 and in one of those losses, a blowout defeat in Phoenix on February 7, Russell Westbrook didn’t even play. Two days later, they lost on a crazy buzzer-beating shot from Utah Jazz forward Bojan Bogdanovic. Outside of that, the Rockets were close to perfect the entire month. Harden and Westbrook even picked up an All-Star Game win.
The Rockets closed the month out in style with an impressive statement win over the Boston Celtics on Leap Day. Harden and Westbrook combined for 62 points in the 111-110 overtime victory, including some big shots down the stretch from Westbrook. The Rockets now find themselves just 1.5 games behind the Denver Nuggets and LA Clippers, who are currently tied for the two-spot in the Western Conference behind the Los Angeles Lakers.
Harden and Westbrook had crazy numbers for the month of February
Both James Harden and Russell Westbrook had a great month. While Harden struggled a bit in the win over the Celtics, scoring 21 points (well below his season average) on just 7-for-24 shooting from the floor. However, the 2018 NBA MVP still had a great February, averaging 31.9 points per game, shooting 46.2 percent from the floor and 37.3 percent from beyond the arc. He also added 7.9 assists, 6.5 rebounds, and 1.7 steals per night.
Westbrook bailed Harden out in the game against Boston, scoring 41 points on 59.3 percent shooting (16-for-27). February was Westbrook’s best month of the current NBA season. The 2017 NBA MVP led the Rockets in scoring with 33.4 points per game, shooting 54.9 percent from the floor, including a 40 percent clip from the three-point line. Westbrook also averaged 7.3 rebounds, six assists, and 1.8 steals per game.
Harden and Westbrook made NBA history in February
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, James Harden and Russell Westbrook are the first pair of teammates in NBA history to both average 30 points and five assists in a calendar month, with a minimum of five games played.
Westbrook and Harden second and third, respectively, in the NBA in scoring for the month of February. Only Washington’s Bradley Beal finished the month with a higher average at 36.2. And it’s certainly not unusual to see either of them distributing the basketball.
While most think of James Harden purely as a scorer, he’s averaged 6.3 assists throughout his career and led the league in the category in the 2016-2017 season with 11.2 dimes per night. Westbrook has averaged double-digit assists the past four seasons and famously averaged a triple-double the past two years.