Some of it was going to his Houston Rockets, who followed last season’s 65-win effort by beginning this season using an 11-14 record, one that left them languishing in 14th place at the Western Convention in mid-December. Some of it was about himselfas the league’s reigning most valuable player was nearly immediately mastered from competing for an opportunity to repeat as the award’s winner this season after a slow start of his own.

Therefore Harden went to get the job done. He put in more time at the gymnasium. He put in more time in the living area. And, finally, things started to turn around — for the Rockets, and for himself.

Unexpectedly, things look much different Herein Clutch City. Much of the success was because of Harden, who has played a man owned, for example his 45 points while linking a career-high of nine 3-pointers at Thursday’s triumph — and also at a level exceeding his MVP effort last season.

“I really wish I knew [the way ], because then I would have an idea of exactly what he does.

“I actually don’t think anybody can figure out exactly what he does, simply because he does it so well.”

In the early phases of the season, though, it did not necessarily seem like this. YesHarden’s numbers have there been — he averaged 28.5 points and 9.0 assists on the first four games of the season before missing three games with a hamstring injury, then averaging 31 points and 8.7 assists in November — but the results are perhaps not.

Therefore Harden drove himself to the gymnasium, in a try to receive his body back into where it was last season. The effect was a season-changing stretch for himself and his team.

“He will come in and does extra labour,” D’Antoni stated. He had to go to a better rhythm.

“He has been playing a lot of one-on-one, he’s been getting a lot of additional work from the living area. He has been putting his period , which is always paying dividends”

A quick look in Harden’s recent play will back that up. During this nine-game stretch, his stats across the board are notable: 39.2 points, 5.6 rebounds 8.2 assists and 2.0 steals per game, to go along with shooting at 44.7 per cent complete, 40.7 per cent from 3-point selection and 87.8 per cent from the foul line. He has received eight straight 30-point games, and contains eclipsed 40 points 3 times in his past six.

“I presume he’s only needed to pick it up and then take it into another level,” Rockets forward PJ Tucker stated. “I actually don’t think he was playing at the amount he wanted to premature on. He’s got his body at such amazing shape now, being able to push the times when he gets tired, teams throwing double teams, different sorts of looks, and his determination to still score and get to his stains would be still pretty remarkable.

“It is just what he does.”

A deeper dive, though, shows Harden is truly doing things nobody else has ever done previously.

Take his signature taken, for example: the stepback 3 pointer. Harden buried eight of them in Thursday’s game independently, and it has now gone 31-for-69 on such shots throughout his nine-game sizzling series, per Second Spectrum. To put that into context: Dallas Mavericks rookie Luka Doncic gets got the second-most stepback 3-s in the league this season.

Doncic has hit 24 of them. In 32 games.

Harden, meanwhile, has made 8 8 this season, only eight less than his total (96) for the entirety of last season.

“Like I’ve said previously, it’s only the job you set up,” Harden said. “If you place the work in, you’re going to find the results. Therefore those movements I was doing tonight on the court, ” I was doing them in practice, and after training after everybody left.

“If you shoot those shots, and you are certain in those shots, those shots will go in. Sometimes they may not go in, but mostly they are going to go in. Which means you’ve only got to carry on, and keep working”

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