James Harden Houston Rockets
James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets dribbles the ball against the Washington Wizards in the first half at Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C., Nov. 26, 2018. Rob Carr/Getty Images

James Harden continued his historic stretch Thursday night with 44 points, 10 rebounds and 15 assists in the Houston Rockets’ 135-134 win over the Golden State Warriors in overtime. The victory put Houston just two games behind the defending champs in the West and turned the superstar into the 2019 NBA MVP favorite.

The reigning MVP has the best odds to win the award again this season at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook. He’s just ahead of Giannis Antetokounmpo, who’s been the favorite for just about the entire year. LeBron James and Anthony Davis are among the top candidates, as well.

Harden wasn’t even in the discussion a month ago when the Rockets were the NBA’s most disappointing team. Houston ranked 14th in the West after a 9-11 start and Harden wasn’t having the same impact, despite his offensive prowess.

The Rockets have since gone 13-4 with 11 wins in their last 12 games. Much of that success has come without Chris Paul, who’s missed the last six games with a hamstring injury.

Houston’s defense has been better than it was at the start of the season, but Harden’s seemingly impossible numbers have been the driving force in the Rockets’ victories. The reigning MVP has scored at least 30 points in 11 straight games with five consecutive 40-plus point games.

Kobe Bryant is the only other player in the last 30 years that’s scored at least 40 points in five straight games.

Over the last 12 games, Harden is averaging an incredible 40.1 points, 9.0 assists and 6.6 rebounds per game. He’s scoring just over 40 points on only 25.3 field goal attempts per game while averaging 5.9 made threes on 41.7 percent shooting from behind the arc.

As the season approaches the midway point, Harden leads the league with 33.6 points per game on an average of 22.1 attempts. Stephen Curry is a distant second with 28.9 points per game. Harden’s 8.6 assists per game are good for fourth in the NBA.

When he was recognized as the league’s most valuable player last season, Harden posted 30.4 points and 8.8 assists per game. The guard is averaging a career-high 2.1 steals per game and shooting 38.9 percent on 12.2 three-point attempts per contest.

Houston led the NBA with 65 wins in the 2017-2018 season. The Rockets are currently on a 49-win pace, though their latest hot streak has them only 3.5 games out of the West’s No.1 seed.