Harden rockets to 43 points in 3 quarters

Ed Szczepanski/USA TODAY Sports

The Kings had no answer for James Harden on Tuesday, as he scored 43 points in three quarters.James Harden only needed three quarters to put up one of the great performances in Rockets history Tuesday night against the Kings.

On fire in the first

Harden took over early in Sacramento -- with 22 points in the first quarter -- the most he's scored in any quarter of his career.

He punctuated his torrid quarter by scoring the team's final 18 points. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Harden and Manu Ginobili of the Spurs are the only players this season to score 18 straight points for their respective teams.

When the smoke had cleared after the first 12 minutes, Harden had single-handedly outscored the Kings 22-17.

He also had seven field goals to the Kings' four and had either scored or assisted on 11 of the Rockets' 14 baskets.

What to do for an encore?

40 Points, 8 Assists, 3 Steals Rockets Last 25 Seasons

Harden finished with 43 points, eight assists and three steals. In the last 25 seasons, only two other Rockets players have reached those levels in a game.

Most recently, Hakeem Olajuwon did it in 1996 against the Timberwolves. A season before the Dream did it, Clyde Drexler reached those same levels against the Warriors.

Keeping company with LeBron

With a 104-77 lead after three quarters, Rockets head coach Kevin McHale gave Harden (along with the rest of the starters) the fourth quarter off.

That makes Harden the first player to score 43 points without playing a single second of the final quarter since March 18, 2011.

On that day, it was LeBron James who went for 43 in a blowout win for the Heat over the Hawks.

The common thread between Harden and LeBron? Each player needed exactly 31 minutes to do his damage.