Rockets’ Mike D’Antoni explains why he pulled James Harden on cusp of career high

Houston Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni described James Harden as “unbelievable” and “incredible” after a 60-point performance in the NBA on Saturday.

Harden finished with 60 points in just 31 minutes in the Rockets’ 158-111 thrashing of the Atlanta Hawks. The star went 16-of-24 from the field, and eight-of-14 from three-point range, in an outstanding performance.

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Speaking about Harden, D’Antoni told a news conference: “Like everything else he does, unbelievable. Again, I think in the first half just when they doubled he gave the right play and then when they didn’t double he scored. His first 40 points he had like 40-something points on 15 shots or 12 shots, whatever it was.

“You get 60 points on 24 shots, that’s pretty good. He was incredible, but he’s like that every night.”

Harden finished one point shy of his career high.

Asked if he considered leaving Harden in the game, D’Antoni said it was never an option.

“I can’t do that, I couldn’t, you guys would kill me if I did that and he got hurt,” he said. “I’d kill myself first of all and then you would all shoot me.”

The Rockets are 13-6 and fourth in the Western Conference ahead of facing the Spurs in San Antonio on Tuesday.

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