Harden's triple-double helps Rockets over Wolves 123-118

Posted April 16, 2017

However, that was for the regular season.

Russell Westbrook has had a phenomenal season, granted, but he does not deserve the NBA MVP award for the 2016-2017 season.

OSCAR ROBERTSON: Well, I don't know, because I guess they weren't counting that much about triple-doubles to begin with.

"It's definitely cool", Westbrook said.

It will be interesting to see how many voters share his thoughts. In his first year as the new Head Coach of Houston, veteran Mike D'Antoni changed the role Harden played on the Rockets, electing to place him in a point-guard (or facilitator-type) role. What's more, Westbrook was the league's leading scorer this year, averaging 31 points a game, including this game victor.

While Russ was racking up his triple-doubles, Harden led the most prolific 3-point shooting offense in National Basketball Association history and put up his own gaudy numbers. The offensive glass and how much the Rockets can score easy buckets could swing this series more than anything else.

Meanwhile, the Rockets' biggest flaw is that their variability and vaunted three-point shooting could turn against them at a moment's notice. Clint Capela (22 points, 10 rebounds) and Patrick Beverley (10 points, 10 boards) added a double-double while Ryan Anderson chipped in 20 points.

The Thunder lost to Denver Wednesday night to end the season, and Westbrook saw minimal time in both games. Yet, his team didn't even win 50 games-sub-par for an MVP candidate. The Houston Rockets finished at 55-27 this year, 15 games better than most preseason predictions. The league hasn't seen many players improve so dramatically as Leonard.

The additions of Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott help the Thunder on both sides of the court. That crown still belongs to LeBron James. Yet it is based on stats and accomplishments-some arbitrary, some not-style of play and the success of that players' team. All of these players are absolutely deserving to be on this list.

Iraq says Islamic State has lost most of the land it seized
The operation began in October 2016 and led to the liberation of Mosul's eastern part this January. In Syria itself, it also holds the city of Raqqa and other areas.

In every sport, every year, it's really the same argument.

"The medical staff does a great job with all his data throughout his entire career, how many minutes he's played, all those kind of things", Donovan said of Westbrook. LeBron can say that, but the East is a more shallow conference. Pau Gasol has been rightly relegated to the bench in favor of Dewayne Dedmon - a nice player, but who is averaging career highs of 5.2 points and 6.5 rebounds in 17 minutes a night.

OKC have also struggled away from home this season too. How hard is it to achieve a triple-double, and why did it take so long for someone to match your accomplishment in the '61-'62 season? If you remove him from this lineup, Oklahoma would be a lottery team. With their 51-31 record, the Cavs held the No. 1 seed for most of the season but are going to enter the playoffs as the No. 2 seed against the Indiana Pacers. The road team is 5-2 ATS in the last seven meetings and the underdog is 6-2 ATS in the last eight meetings.

But the postseason is where James shines brightest.

The Thunder went into rest mode to start the second half. DeAndre Jordan must carry his spectacular defensive season in to the postseason for the team to be successful.

In the 14 seasons since the National Basketball Association expanded first-round series' to best-of-7 in 2003, the No. 3 seeds in the East and West have won 21 of 28 series. That's largely due to James Harden's spectacular performance all season.

No active player had more games without a playoff appearance than Monroe.

"LaMarcus Aldridge, who was supposed to be the team's second all-star behind Leonard, has taken a step backward". The last to average 30 points and 10 assists was Nate Archibald in 1972-73.

Let's start with this: Averaging a triple-double isn't a prerequisite for an MVP vote. The MVP is about what you bring to your team, and while the Cavs would be terrible without LeBron, they aren't very good with him lately. That's not a knock on him, Westbrook or Harden, but James is simply a once-in-a-generation talent. He has been consistently putting up the same numbers for the last 13 years and has won four MVPs awards. Combine that with his ability to involve his teammates while playing and defending almost every position, and nobody can match up to his size, speed and athletic ability. Winning is critical to earning NBA MVP. I'm sure he has his eyes set on another Finals MVP anyway.