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James Harden breaks single-season turnover record held by … himself

James Harden, with six turnovers in the Houston Rockets’ 115-108 loss to the Utah Jazz on Wednesday, broke the NBA’s single-season turnover record, one held by … himself.

With those turnovers in Wednesday’s loss, Harden, who otherwise is enjoying an MVP-caliber campaign, has 376 turnovers on the season with 17 games remaining. Last season when he broke the record, Harden had 374 turnovers.

While the notion Harden broke his own turnover record with that many games remaining in the season may be appalling to some basketball purists, the fact remains the Rockets probably don’t care one bit about it.

Harden, an already-dynamic scorer who converted to point guard this season under the tutelage of first-year Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni, has flourished in his new role.

As noted by CBS Sports’ James Herbert, Harden is third in the league in scoring (29.1), first in assists (11.2), first in total minutes (2,372) and fifth in usage (34 percent).

What’s more, Harden’s low assist-to-turnover ratio (1.94) obviously doesn’t rank high among NBA point guards. But given his productivity, does it even matter?

What’s more, there’s this nugget, via Pro Basketball Talk’s Dan Feldman:

Harden has turned the ball over every minute and 33 seconds he has possessed it. Brandon Jennings (a turnover every 1:14 of possession), Deron Williams (1:20) and LeBron James (1:25) turn it over more frequently when they have the ball. They just don’t have the ball as often.

In other words, given how much Harden handles the ball when running the offense, the case can be made the high-turnover rate simply comes with the territory with an aggressive Harden playing in a high-tempo system.

What’s more, Harden, who has been mocked and ridiculed for his defense, has a defensive rating (107.1) consistent with his career numbers, despite more responsibility on offense.

Whether Harden’s record-breaking turnover run impacts his MVP credentials remains to be seen. But for what it’s worth, Oklahoma City Thunder superstar Russell Westbrook — who arguably is neck-and-neck with Harden in the MVP race, along with a few other players in the mix — has 348 turnovers already this season.  Just something to think about.

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