By Shayden Smith
The two top contenders for Most Valuable Player went head to head Thursday night in Houston. James Harden versus Alex Abrines. Wait, I mean Russell Westbrook. I always get those two guys mixed up. Oklahoma City came into Houston for not only a show down between the leading MVP candidates, but also a showdown between two of the top contenders for sixth-man of the year, Enes Kanter and Eric Gordon.
I’ve been praising Westbrook for being the triple-double freak that he is, but honestly, Harden is almost just as much of a freak. If Westbrook really is from a different planet, than Harden is from another planet in the same solar system. Both of these men have been putting up monster number. Westbrook is currently leading the NBA in points per game and Harden is leading in assists. These guys are fighting for the right to call themselves MVP at the end of this season, and both made a great case for it Thursday night.
Westbrook had another game that made me cry tears of explosiveness… I’m not really sure what that means, but that’s how great Westbrook is. He finished the night with 49 points off a career high eight three pointers. He also finished with eight rebounds and five assists. On the other side, Harden finished the night with 26 points, 12 assists and eight rebounds. One of these guys has to have a quadruple-double by the end of their career, right? And I don’t mean with turnovers. We all know they’re already pretty good at that.
Who deserves the MVP award right now? The truth is, the Thunder just aren’t winning games and the Rockets are, so, as much as I hate to say it, Harden is the MVP right now. There is still one crucial missing piece for OKC that would push them over the edge, making them a championship caliber team. Presti, we’re all counting on you to find that piece.
So what about the other guys? Kanter came off the Thunder bench scoring 15 points and grabbing 13 boards, showing another strong performance. Eric Gordon came off the Rockets bench scoring 22 points off five of 10 from down town. So who is the true sixth-man of the year? You guessed it… Josh Huestis.
The Thunder played great defense, but a heroic effort from Westbrook was not enough. The Thunder drop their third straight, losing to Houston 116 – 118.