Houston Rockets guard James Harden was named today by the NBA as Western Conference Player of the Week for games played Monday, Mar. 18 through Sunday, Mar. 24. It marks his third such honor this season after winning West Player of the Week for games played Oct. 30-Nov. 4 and Dec. 31-Jan. 6. Harden joins Tracy McGrady (four times in 2004-05) and Hakeem Olajuwon (three times in 1992-93) as the only Rockets to ever capture Player of the Week honors three or more times in one season.
Harden (6-5, 220, Arizona State) led Houston to a perfect 3-0 week, helping the Rockets soar to a season-best eight games over .500 in 2012-13 (39-31). He averaged 26.0 points and shot a remarkable 39-of-44 (.886) from the free throw line. Harden culminated his week by hitting the game-winning shot with 4.5 seconds left to lift the Rockets to a 96-95 win over the Western Conference leading San Antonio Spurs.
He tipped things off with a game-high 29 points (5-14 FG, 2-6 3FG) in a 100-93 win vs. Utah (3/20/13) off a 17-of-18 performance from the free throw line, coming up just one make shy of the team record for most free throws made in a game without a miss. Harden then led all scorers with 20 points (7-9 FT) in a 116-78 triumph vs. Cleveland (3/22/13), which came despite not playing in the fourth quarter of a 38-point win over the Cavaliers. He finished with 29 points (6-16 FG, 2-5 3FG), nine rebounds, six assists, two steals and two blocked shots in the victory vs. San Antonio (3/24/13). Harden’s 15-of-17 night from the free throw line against the Spurs put him at 602-of-701 on the season, moving him into third all-time on the Rockets single-season list for most free throw made (630 by Moses Malone in 1981-82 and 609 by Malone in 1980-81).