Harden was 19-of-25 shooting, including 7-of-8 from 3-point range. He also dished out 13 assists, accounting for a total of 91 points.
A Jazz defense that ranks among the league’s stingiest was shredded by Harden, who was spectacularly efficient shooting off the dribble. Harden made his first 10 shots from the floor. He was 19-of-22 before missing his final three attempts and checking out to a standing ovation from the Toyota Center crowd with 7:32 remaining in the game.
It was the sixth 50-plus-point performance by Harden, all coming over the last four seasons. He eclipsed his previous career-best total of 53 points by the end of the third quarter, which he finished with a driving layup in the last second.
Harden, last season’s MVP runner-up, had 22 points on 8-of-8 shooting in the first quarter. He hit a pair of 3-pointers in the final nine seconds of the frame, crouching for several seconds after hitting a pull-up 3 over Jazz point guard Ricky Rubio to beat the end-of-quarter buzzer.