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In fact, yes you can. Welcome to 2017, where James and Curry have given way to two players without an MVP between them, Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook and Houston’s James Harden. At nearly the halfway point of the season, they’re considered the only viable candidates in a two-horse race.
They squared off in Houston on Thursday night in the NBA’s nationally-televised game on TNT, drawing fans and MVP voters to their big screens. In a season when everyone and his brother is registering triple-doubles, nobody is doing it better than these two superstars.
Neither could hit a big shot late, but Harden did make the biggest play of the night in Houston’s 118-116 win. He found Nene cutting to the basket in the final seconds and he was fouled with seven-tenths of a second left and the game tied at 116. Only a 57% foul shooter, Nene made both shots after the Thunder rallied from 18 points down in the second half.
Afterward, Harden was asked how the Thunder managed to fight back and tie the game.
“Russell Westbrook,” he said. “He was amazing.”