Asked by a reporter about the MVP race after Brooklyn's 113-111 win over the Detroit Pistons, James Harden's response was blunt.
"I feel like I am the MVP. It's just that simple."
The remark came after the latest sensational performance from the Brooklyn superstar, with the 31-year-old pouring in 44 points to go along with 14 rebounds and eight assists.
With Kevin Durant (hamstring) and Kyrie Irving (personal) sidelined, Harden was dominant, which has become the norm of late. The Eastern Conference Player of the Month for February, Harden has continued his hot stretch to average 26.2 points, 9.3 rebounds and 12.3 assists across nine March appearances prior to tonight.
44 POINTS FOR THE BEARD- Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) March 27, 2021
📼 Highlights from a huge @JHarden13 night in Detroit 📼 pic.twitter.com/kTjVQxe6Jw
Averaging a career-high 11.5 assists per game in Brooklyn, Harden leads the league in the catagory while also sitting 14th for scoring with 25.8 points per game.
With injuries to Joel Embiid and LeBron James, the award race has been thrown wide open, with Harden remarkably coming into calculations despite being traded by the Houston Rockets earlier in the season. No player has ever won the MVP award after being traded in season, addidng a historical element to Harden's campaign.
THE MVP CONTENDERS
|James Harden||Brooklyn Nets||25.8||8.1||11.2||31-15|
|Nikola Jokic||Denver Nuggets||27.2||11.6||8.1||27-18|
|LeBron James||Los Angeles Lakers||25.4||7.9||7.9||28-17|
|Joel Embiid||Philadelphia 76ers||29.9||11.5||3.1||32-13|
|Damian Lillard||Portland Trail Blazers||30.0||4.3||7.7||27-18|
|Giannis Antetokounmpo||Milwaukee Bucks||28.3||11.5||6.4||29-15|
Without Durant for 21 of the last 22 games, the Nets have rattled off a 16-5 record during the stretch. Irving has also missed seven games during this period, helping Harden's cause as he carries the Nets to remain in touch with Philadelphia for the No. 1 seed.
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