Nets' James Harden After 44-Point Effort vs. Pistons: 'I Feel Like I Am the MVP'

Blake SchusterSenior Analyst IIIMarch 27, 2021

Brooklyn Nets guard James Harden drives during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, March 26, 2021, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

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:

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"I feel like I am the MVP" - James Harden https://t.co/7zTAFGxcQ3

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.