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Harden On MVP Race: "It's Coming Back"

After torching Boston, Rockets guard believes he should be an MVP front runner

December 28, 2018 - 12:35 am

HOUSTON (SportsRadio 610)- Despite three top two MVP finishes over the last four seasons, Rockets guard James Harden never campaigns for the award. He usually blows off the question, but that changed Thursday night after the Rockets 127-113 win over the Boston Celtics when he was asked if he should be in the MVP conversation.

"Of course I should be in the conversation," Harden said with a chuckle. "I receive a lot of hate, but that won’t stop me from going out there and killing every single night. 

"Realistically, it’s coming back.” 

After torching the NBA's third rated defense for 45 points Thursday night, Harden is averaging 32.7 points per game this season to go with 5.5 rebounds and 8.3 assists. Against the Celtics, he knocked down half of his 18 three-point attempts and is now shooting over 38 percent from long distance. Austin Rivers has been only been teammates with Harden for a few days, but he thinks he should at the top of the list of contenders as the NBA season nears its halfway point.

"Are you watching what he's doing right now?" he said. "He's a top three, top four player in the NBA, however you want to look at it. Offensively he's number one in my opinion. I don't think offensively anyone can do what he does."

Harden was left out of the early MVP discussion as the Rockets started the season 11-14, but after scoring 40 points for the eighth time and putting up his eighth straight game of at least 30 points, the Rockets now sit at 19-15, just three games back of the top spot in the Western Conference. After finally breaking through by winning his first MVP last season, Harden expected an uphill climb for a second, but he's ready for the discussion and if Thursday is any indication, he won't be blowing off the questions anymore.

"The conversation will be going on for the rest of the year."