With the Houston Rockets on top of the NBA and James Harden on top of the scoring race, he may be running away with the MVP vote.
Anthony Davis and Damian Lillard might have something to say about that.
With stellar play steering their sizzling teams, they have at least entered their names in the conversation with a little more than a month left in the regular season.
Harden has been runner-up to Stephen Curry and Russell Westbrook in recent years, but it is looking like his time this season. With more than 31 points and nearly nine assists per game — third in the league in that category — for a team with the league’s best record, it is hard to imagine needing to look elsewhere.
“What Harden and Houston is doing right now, he’s the MVP of the league right now,” Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas said on NBA TV.
Davis and Lillard could deserve some thought.
Davis, who left Wednesday’s 114-101 win over the Sacramento Kings in the third quarter with an ankle injury, has carried New Orleans with dominant basketball since DeMarcus Cousins was lost for the season last month. The Western Conference player of the month for February opened March by winning player of the week, largely on the strength of a 53-point, 18-rebound, five-block effort that rallied the Pelicans from a 17-point deficit to a victory over Phoenix on Feb. 26.
Then he went for 41 points and 13 rebounds Tuesday in his first game this week, hitting the tiebreaking shot as the Pelicans beat the Clippers in Los Angeles. Through Wednesday’s games, he was second in the league in scoring and blocks, and eighth in rebounds.
Lillard is building a good résumé for this week’s honor. He has scored 39 and 37 in two games thus far, including 19 in the fourth quarter Monday to rally Portland past the Los Angeles Lakers, and eight 3-pointers Tuesday in a rout of the New York Knicks. That gave the league leader in second-half scoring 35 or more points in seven of the past 10 games.
Most important — for their teams and their candidacies — their clubs are rolling. New Orleans has won 10th straight and Portland has won eight in a row.