NBA MVP Race: Even After LeBron James' 61-Point Game, Kevin Durant Still Holds the Lead

By Brian Anderson
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

More than halfway through the NBA season, the race for the MVP is hotter than ever. Kevin Durant and LeBron James have played out of this world thus far. No one should ever forget Durant’s outrageous month of basketball in January where he poured in 40-plus points in five games. James took note of Durant’s superhuman-like play, going on a tear of his own in February where he became the first player to shoot over 64-percent from the field on a minimum of 200 shot attempts —  becoming the first player to do so since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar‘s month of madness in March of 1983.

The Durant vs. James debate has never been hotter as it continues to blaze out of control. When you compare the two seasons these two legendary players are having, you cannot forget the hardships they have had to overcome as their respective teams battled key injuries early on. James has done his damage with a hobbled Dwyane Wade, while Durant has done most of his work with Russell Westbrook missing a large portion of the season.

Without taking anything away from James, I personally believe that Durant is winning the race by a landslide. The only thing keeping James afloat is his spectacular field-goal percentages during his best stretches of play. Unlike Durant, James is able to take more high percentage shots on a Miami Heat team that has three solid scoring options; KD has had to do it all for the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Durant has not only scored at high clips, but he is also averaging a career-high in assists with 5.6 per game. Durant’s barrage of 40-points games, including a couple triple-doubles and some very clutch shots, should be enough to persuade anyone to give him the lead in the MVP race right now. Sadly, there are a large number of biased fans, writers and analysts who will do anything in their power to keep James on the throne.

Even after James’ amazing 61-point game on Monday night, he just simply does not have as many games that stick out in comparison to Durant, who has more than a handful of historic nights this year. Scoring 61-points is one heck of a feat, but Durant scored 54-points on five less shots than James took on Monday. I should also mention that those 54 big ones came against the Golden State Warriors in a close game, while James’ big night came against a Charlotte Bobcats team that also gave up 62-points to Carmelo Anthony earlier this season.

Without all the hype from the media and Heat fans, it is clear that Durant is the league’s MVP thus far. To paint a more vivid picture, let us compare their season totals thus far. Durant is averaging 31.6 points per game, 7.7 rebounds, 5.6 assists, 21 double-doubles and has two triple-doubles. James is putting up 27.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, 6.4 assists, 10 double-doubles and has zero triple-doubles. James has led the Heat to a 43-14 record, while Durant’s Thunder are 45-15 on the season after playing most of the year without their second best player.

When you break it all down it should be clear to most, but the truth is that those biased people I spoke of earlier may never give KD the respect he rightfully deserves. Durant may have to perform religious-like miracles before anyone gives him the respect that he deserves. I hope that the MVP race will not come down to a popularity contest as it has in many years prior. If everything unfolds fairly, then I have no doubt in my body that Durant will earn his first MVP this year.

James would have to pull a few 100-point games out of that magic hat of his if he is going to be considered the best player this year with everything “The Slim Reaper” has achieved. I do not believe in magic, but I do believe in ignorance — the only thing standing in between Durant and his first NBA MVP Award.

Brian Anderson is an NBA writer for Follow him on Twitter @MrAnderson035 “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.


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