LeBron James scored 61 points on Monday night and people were quick to start the debate about whether that historical performance was enough to elevate him ahead of Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant in the race for the NBA’s MVP. Durant made sure on Tuesday night that no one forgets to consider him.
As the Thunder trounced the tanking Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday night, Durant led the scoring charge. Russell Westbrook did his part as well, notching a triple-double with 13 points, 14 assists and 10 rebounds in just 20 minutes, but it was Durant’s 42 points, nine rebounds, three assists, two steals and one block in 33 minutes that really did the Sixers in.
Probably the most impressive part of Durant’s performance was the fact that he did his work in just three quarters of play, making him just the second player this season to score 40 or more points without playing in the fourth quarter. His impressive accomplishments on the night also included his 14-20 shooting effort from the floor, another remarkably efficient effort from Durant.
In regards to the MVP race, Durant has been proclaimed the favorite for quite a while now, largely because of his proficiency and the Thunder’s success with Westbrook sidelined because of a knee injury. However, with the way that LeBron performed in February and with Durant trailing off—even only slightly—the momentum for Durant as MVP has been stifled a bit and the momentum for James’ candidacy has picked up.
However, the race should honestly be looked at as much tighter than people are currently making it seem to be. The momentum doesn’t shift as dramatically from game-to-game as the media or certain reports would make it seem. Sure, 61-point performances are important, but the award is entirely about the whole body of work.
If I had to venture to guess, Durant is still in the lead right now, but things are certainly close enough to where that could change relatively quickly. There are going to be parties who are upset no matter who comes out as MVP this season, but what we can be sure of is that these guys have both been deserving of the league’s to honor.