James Harden has cemented his place in the Mount Rushmore of three-point shooting. The Philadelphia 76ers recently acquired All-Star passed Pacers’ great Reggie Miller for third all-time on the list with a step-back three over Kyrie Irving in the first quarter of Thursday night’s marquee matchup. A game that Miller was providing the color commentary for on TNT.
James Harden Moves to Third All-Time in Three-Point Makes
Big Shot on a Big Stage
After draining his 2,651st three-pointer, Harden now trails only Ray Allen (2,973) and Stephen Curry (3,101 and counting) for most made all-time. The shot came in a prime-time game against Harden’s former team, the Brooklyn Nets. The Wells Fargo Center was packed with stands, celebrities sprinkled in amongst the raucous crowd. The star power of these two lineups paired with the compelling storyline of the Harden for Ben Simmons trade had everyone interested in the NBA fixated on this game all week. Harden had asked for this, he’d basically said as much publicly. He was in it now, with a career accomplishment in the mix. 76er fans and hoop heads across the nation tuned in to see what Harden and MVP candidate Joel Embiid could do together in their first major challenge as teammates.
The shot that moved Harden up to No. 3 all-time in three pointers made ????
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) March 11, 2022
A Light in the Darkness
The early three was the sole bright spot of Harden’s otherwise abysmal first half. It was the only basket he made in the first quarter. The second wasn’t much better as Harden shot 2-9 in that period. He finished the game with just 11 points on 3-17 shooting from the floor. Harden also had six rebounds and five assists in the effort.
The Nets routed the 76ers in front of the Philadelphia faithful following the strong first half of Kevin Durant. The Nets forward scored 18 of his game-high 25 points in the first half. Kyrie Irving was again a key factor in this win as well. The part-time point guard added 22 points and five assists to the winning effort. Not to be outdone, Seth Curry made his triumphant return to Philidelphia by cooking up 24 points on 10-14 shooting.
Ascending an All-Time Great
It was fitting that Miller was in attendance on the night that he was passed on the leaderboard, sliding to fourth all-time. Like many who grew up in his era, Harden grew up idolizing Miller. Miller has always been gracious in these moments, choosing to embrace and congratulate those that break his records. Thursday night was no different, as the greatest Pacer in NBA history donned a 76ers jersey announcing Harden’s accomplishment and showed it off to the arena in a shower of applause.
Reggie Miller celebrates James Harden passing him on the all-time 3-point list ???? pic.twitter.com/9wmK2SVdKi
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 11, 2022
Many fans will dismiss this accomplishment due to the changes in playstyle over the years that have allowed more room and attempts for shooters over the years. Miller, thought for years to be the sharpshooter in the ’90s, only averaged 4.7 three-point attempts per game during his career. Compare that to Harden, who holds a career average of 6.6 attempts per game.
When it’s All Said and Done: Harden and the All-Time Three-Point List
While Harden may not be thought of as a ‘pure shooter’ in the same way that his counterparts on this list have, he has without a doubt earned his spot in history. Barring any unfortunate injury, Harden seems poised to eclipse Allen as well before his playing days are over. Curry’s spot at the top will almost certainly be untouchable until a new generation gets a crack at it.
Thursday night was no celebration for Philly fans, as the near 30-point beatdown has soured the event altogether. 76ers faithful must be hoping that the immediate slump following the broken record was nothing more than an off-night.
Congratulations are due to the Beard no matter the outcome. Fans of the league can debate the legitimacy of modern records as long as they want, but the talent and longevity required for Harden to reach this peak of three-point excellence cannot be disputed.
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