Last year's MVP has picked up from where he left off, and taken it to a new level.
James Harden has scored 40+ points in five consecutive matches and 35+ in 11 consecutive matches. In the last 50 years, only one other player has done something like that, and his name is Michael Jordan.
These numbers are not meaningless. Harden is shooting 46% percent, 41% from 3-point line and getting to the foul line 13 times a match. In the match against the Golden State Warriors yesterday, he scored 44 points and registered a triple double.
The Houston Rockets have won 10 of their last 11 games and they have done it in the absence of Chris Paul. They were 14th in the seeding before this stretch and they are now 4th, behind the mighty Warriors.
In yesterday's match, the Rockets were down 17 at the half-time mark. But in the 3rd quarter Harden scored 13 points and paved the way for a comeback.
In the overtime, he hit the tightly contested 3-pointer (on which he even got fouled, but refs didn’t call it) and snatched yet another win. And how did the game get to the overtime in the first place? Again, it was a Harden 3-pointer to tie the game at 119-119.
During the match the Warriors tried every defender - from Durant and Thompson to Green and Igoudala - but Harden was unstoppable.
People argue that Harden's numbers look so good because of the playing style of the Rockets, which is isolation heavy and everything on the offence is run by Harden. But you have to admit that Harden is the most un-guardable player in the NBA right now. Moreover, he has also started showing his presence on the defensive end.
Let’s not count out his greatness under the garb of the 'Rockets System'; instead, let's give him his due credit for this splendid run.
After this stretch, Harden is definitely in the MVP conversation. Every year people like to see a new face as the MVP, and they rarely give their vote to the same person in consecutive years. But Harden is doing something unreal and he deserves this award again.