“We all know how good Larry was and the things he did in Boston,” Harden said. “A legend. And I think I just play the game the right way, and hopefully good things happen for me passing one of the greatest ever to play basketball is a great honor.”
Harden now has 21,792 points, one more than Bird.
Harden also had 10 rebounds, 10 assists and three blocks to go with his 24 points Saturday. It was the ninth triple-double Harden has recorded since joining the Nets in mid-January. It is tied for the third-most triple-doubles recorded by a player in a single season across the Nets’ franchise, according to ESPN’s Stats & Information research.
James Harden shows his surprise at the postgame news conference when informed that he passed Larry Bird on the all-time scoring list.
It is also the fourth most by a player in his first season with a team, according to Elias Sports Bureau data.
Harden scored the final 10 points of Saturday’s win for Brooklyn — tying his second-most clutch-time points. With the win over Detroit, the Nets improved to 8-1 when Harden records a triple-double, and he can move past Gary Payton (21,813 points) and secure the 33rd overall place by scoring his next 22 points.
“I just got to continue to build, because at the end of the day, I want my name to be mentioned with those greats,” Harden said.