Nets' James Harden After 44-Point Effort vs. Pistons: 'I Feel Like I Am the MVP'March 27, 2021
James Harden made a statement on the court against the Detroit Pistons on Friday and then made an even bigger one off it.
After pouring in 44 points with 14 rebounds and eight assists in a 113-111 victory, Harden told reporters he feels like he's this year's MVP:
Since joining the Nets via a four-team trade in January, Harden is averaging 25.4 points, 11.5 assists and 8.7 rebounds and has Brooklyn just 1.5 games back of the Philadelphia 76ers for first place in the Eastern Conference.
With injuries to LeBron James, Joel Embiid and Stephen Curry tightening up the MVP race, Harden, Damian Lillard, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Nikola Jokic have been able to close the gap a bit with their recent play.
In Harden's case, that's meant 11 triple-doubles—third in the NBA behind Russell Westbrook (14) and Jokic (12)—and a league-leading 427 assists.
Harden, 31, won MVP in 2018, and Antetokounmpo has won it in back-to-back seasons.