Since scoring 50 points with 10 rebounds and 11 assists in a 126-111 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on December 13, Houston Rockets guard James Harden has been on a hot streak.

Not just any hot streak, but one that not even Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant ever went on during either of their legendary careers.

In all, the reigning scoring champion put up at least 30 points in 32 consecutive games and is currently averaging 36.3 points per game for the season, the highest scoring average by anyone since Michael Jordan averaged 37.1 a game in the 1986-87 season.

Only Wilt Chamberlain had a longer streak of 30-point games when he did so in 65 straight games in the 1961-62 season, a year in which he averaged 50.4 points a game, the most in league history.

Harden's streak, however, is now history, as he shot a chilly 7-21, including 0-10 from three-point range in the Rockets' 119-111 win over the lowly Atlanta Hawks.

Harden has reached rarified air while lifting his Houston Rockets

Harden's string of 30-point games has also coincided with a reemergence of sorts for his team. Going into that December 13 contest against the Lakers, the Rockets had a 12-14 record and were in danger of missing the playoffs just one season after winning 65 games and coming within one game of reaching the NBA finals.

With Monday's win, Houston stood at 35-25, which put them at fifth place in the always crowded and competitive Western Conference. This means that in those 32 games they went 21-11, not quite the gaudy type of pace they won games at last year, but a very solid and respectable one nonetheless.

This scoring binge by Harden has drawn comparisons to some of the very greatest players that have ever graced the hardwood in the NBA.

In scoring at least 30 points for 32 straight games, Harden long ago moved past Kobe Bryant, who shattered several scoring records during his legendary 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers. In the 2002-03 season, Bryant scored at least 30 points in 16 consecutive games, while also scoring at least 35 games in 13 straight games and at least 40 points in at least nine games during that same streak.

Bryant's nine-game streak of at least 40 points was tied for the longest ever since the NBA-ABA merger in 1976 with Michael Jordan, who did it in the mid-'80s. Harden's 30-point streak included five consecutive games of at least 40 points, which is tied for the second longest such streak with Bryant and Allen Iverson.

Wilt Chamberlain, however, scored at least 30 points in 65 consecutive games, a streak that in all likelihood will never be matched, let alone exceeded.

Thanks to Harden's exploits, the Houston Rockets have gone from teetering on the brink of disaster to possibly being a dark horse contender in the Western Conference. The team isn't quite as good as it was last year when they gave the Golden State Warriors all they could handle in the Western Conference Finals, but if healthy come playoff time, a similar hot streak from Harden combined with elevated play from his teammates could give them a puncher's chance of winning their first world championship since 1995.

Harden has also single-handedly placed himself in the midst of the NBA's regular season MVP discussion. Along with the Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Rockets superstar figures to be the favorite right now to take home the award at the end of the season.

Harden won the MVP award last season, beating out Lebron James, who was then playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers.