Before the NBA All-Star Break, Kevin Durant was the favorite and looked like he was going to be named the league’s MVP, ending LeBron James’ two-year reign. Then James broke his nose, put on the mask and set a personal and Miami Heat record for points in a single game. How about that MVP race now?
The defending champs played host to the Charlotte Bobcats Monday night and not only did James go berserk, but the Heat also won their eighth-straight game, getting the 124-107 victory without Dwyane Wade. With Wade resting, it was a perfect night for James to take all of the spotlight and he did just that.
Exploding for 61 points on 22-33 shooting, including 8-10 from the 3-point, James put on a clinic, also recording seven rebound and five assists. It is almost like the protective mask is channeling an inner-spirit or James and Miami are just beginning to get into playoff form.
As far as the race for MVP goes, James has shrunk the gap and possibly broke even with Durant. Russell Westbrook recently returned from injury and threw the balance of the Oklahoma City Thunder off for a bit, but now they are back on track. However, James has been on a tear since the Break, averaging 36.3 points in four games despite the broken nose. The 61-point game alone is enough to propel James to a third-straight MVP.
There is still a substantial amount of games for Durant and James to play, but the race just got a whole lot tighter. Not only does the 61-point game help James, but the fact he did it with a broken nose is even more impressive. Durant now has his work cut out for him if he wants to win his first MVP award, but if James continues to play the way he has, there might not be anything Durant can do.
Shane Phillips is an NBA Writer for RantSports.com. Follow Shane on Twitter @ShaneRantSports, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also email Shane at ShaneRantNBA@gmail.com.