On Friday night, James Harden joined Wilt Chamberlain as the only Philadelphia 76ers to record a 20-assist triple-double. In the Sixers’ 119-114 win over the Los Angeles Clippers, the 10-time All-Star ended his performance with 20 points, 11 rebounds, and a career-high 21 assists.
Also, he finished 6-of-17 (35.3%) shooting from the floor and knocked down three 3-pointers. This was Harden’s ninth double-double and first triple-double of the 2022-23 season. The 14-year veteran still ranks eighth on the all-time list for triple-doubles (70). However, he is eight away from tying Chamberlain (78).
James Harden is the 2nd player in 76ers history with a 20-assist triple-double, joining Wilt Chamberlain in 1968 against the Pistons.
Harden’s 21 assists tie the franchise record with Wilt from that game and Maurice Cheeks in 1982. pic.twitter.com/sIRYM8I8XY
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) December 24, 2022
According to a couple of NBA betting sites, James Harden has the 16th-best odds to win MVP in 2023. Nonetheless, a few sportsbooks show better odds for Kevin Durant and fellow teammate Joel Embiid. The 33-year-old has to stay healthy if he wants even a slim chance of winning his second award.
On February 2, 1968, in the 76ers’ 131-121 win against the Detroit Pistons, Chamberlain logged 22 points, 25 rebounds and 21 assists in 48 minutes of action. The Hall of Famer played the entire game, which was typical for All-Stars back then.
James Harden joins Wilt Chamberlain as only 76ers to record a 20-assist triple-double, remains eighth on all-time triple-doubles list
Moreover, Harden tied Chamberlain and Maurice “Mo” Cheeks for the franchise game assist record. “That’s some great company,” the guard said after the win.
“Mo Cheeks was one of my coaches [in Oklahoma City], and then Wilt, I feel like he has every record. So just being in the conversation with some of the best basketball players to ever touch a basketball is always a blessing.”
Cheeks finished with 21 assists on October 30, 1982, when the 76ers defeated the New Jersey Nets by a final score of 110-99. The Hall of Famer also recorded 16 points, four steals, and three rebounds while shooting 6-of-11 (54.5%) from the field. So, this is quite an accomplishment for James Harden.
swept the homestand!
📹 Game Highlights vs. Clippers | 12.23.22
— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) December 24, 2022
Equally important, Harden was not the only Sixer to make history on Friday. Joel Embiid ended his night with 44 points, seven rebounds, three assists, one steal, and two blocks in 38 minutes. The five-time All-Star is now tied with Chamberlain for the most 40-point games by a 76er.
Through 17 starts this season, James Harden is averaging 21.4 points, 6.6 boards, 10.9 assists, and 1.3 steals per game. Plus, he’s shooting 42.9% from the floor and 36.4% beyond the arc.
“This is a generational scorer that has taken and decided to be a point guard, who still scores, but to be a point guard for this team,” Rivers said of Harden. “That’s hard to do. A lot of people, most people, can’t do that, or will not do it is a better way of saying it. The fact that he is willingly doing it, running the team, organizing us, is huge for us.”