James Harden continues to make a strong case for finally earning the MVP award after being "robbed" last year by leading the Rockets to a 13-game winning streak back in February.
Houston notched their thirteenth straight win in a 96-85 win over the Utah Jazz on the road in Utah. Harden chipped in 26 points in an efficient 8-of-13 shooting in the win. The 2017-18 MVP candidate also had 11 rebounds and five assists to help his team win.
While the game was a relatively tightly contested affair for the first half, the Rockets would surge past the Jazz in the second half, outscoring them by as much as 16 points en route to a double-digit win.
At the time, Harden was averaging more than 31 points a game, along with nine rebounds and five assists. His value to the team is best exemplified when the Rockets went became a middling team with their star shooting guard riding on the pine and nursing an injury. But, since then, the Rockets have been a whole lot better.
In the nine games leading up to the Rockets' 13-game winning streak, Harden score at least 25 points and they were 17-1 overall after Harden returning from an untimely hamstring injury.
The winning streak solidified the Rockets' lead over the defending champions, the Golden State Warriors, on top of the Western Conference standings.
The addition of Chris Paul has helped turn the Rockets into fringe title contenders to title favorites heading into the postseason. Coupled with growth from Clint Capela and the Houston Rockets have surprised most people by leading the Western Conference by a comfortable margin.