Harden sets new NBA scoring record


Houston Rockets guard James Harden has become the first player in NBA history to score at least 30 points against all 29 opponents in a single season.

The reigning NBA MVP scored 31 points in a 121-105 win over the Atlanta Hawks – the 48th time in 67 games this season that he has managed at least 30 points.

Harden, 29, also finished with 10 assists and eight rebounds.

Earlier this season Harden scored 30 or more points in 32 straight games – a run ended by the Hawks in December.

That run left him second on the all-time list, albeit some way short of the record of 65 consecutive games set by Wilt Chamberlain in the 1960s.

Chamberlain also scored at least 30 points against every other NBA side in the same season, but against fewer teams. The NBA expanded to its current set-up of 30 teams in 2004.

Reigning champions Golden State Warriors lead the Western Conference, with the Rockets three points behind in third.

Meanwhile, Sunderland striker Will Grigg has been ruled out of Northern Ireland’s Euro 2020 qualifiers against Estonia and Belarus with an injury.

The 27-year-old has returned to his club and will miss the matches at Windsor Park on Thursday and Sunday.

Corry Evans again did not train with the squad at the National Stadium on Wednesday due to a hamstring problem.

The Blackburn Rovers midfielder remains a doubt for Thursday’s Estonia game after suffering the injury on Saturday.

Grigg, capped 13 times by Northern Ireland, has gone back to Sunderland for treatment, though the nature of the problem has not yet been disclosed.

The former Wigan Athletic forward, who has scored twice for Northern Ireland, had been recalled to the squad by manager Michael O’Neill after missing the last three internationals due to injury.

Kyle Lafferty, Liam Boyce, Josh Magennis, Conor Washington and the inexperienced Paul Smyth are the remaining strikers in O’Neill’s squad for Northern Ireland’s opening two Euro 2020 qualifiers.

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