Battle with LeBron James Will Be an MVP Litmus Test for James Harden

February 28th, 2015 by Zach Buckley Leave a reply »

James Harden's NBA MVP opportunity is standing in front of him.

It just happens to be taking the form of a 6'8", 250-pound freight train known as LeBron James.

Both players have entrenched themselves in a four-man race that's six weeks away from crowning a victor and already seemingly destined to end in a photo finish. With James' Cleveland Cavaliers set to pay Harden's Houston Rockets a visit on Sunday, the latter has the chance to improve his odds of winning this thing by a hair—or, in Harden's case, by a beard.

While the final order of the MVP ballot is still to be determined, the four names who will appear at the top have likely already been decided: Harden, James, Stephen Curry and Russell Westbrook. As one Eastern Conference executive told's Sekou Smith, all four can appear like the favorite depending on when you look:

One night I think it's easy to say Steph has been the MVP all season and his body of work needs to be rewarded. Then I'll flip over and see James go off and think, how can you not go with a man doing all of the things he's doing under those circumstances? I think we ...

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