NBA MVP Race is Heating Up Between LeBron James and Kevin Durant
It wasn’t that long ago when analysts across the globe were announcing Kevin Durant as their shoo-in for the Most Valuable Player Award, leaving the previous champ LeBron James little to no chance to bounce his way back into contention.
You simply couldn’t argue against the video-game like numbers KD was putting up during Russell Westbrook’s absence, averaging 35 points, 7.5 rebounds and 6.3 assists while shooting 52.7 percent from the field.
But it was also his ridiculous streak of five 40-plus point games in January that made it seem like LeBron would have to go all out in order to secure his third MVP in a row.
Last night’s big performance by the Miami Superstar was anything but a white flag directed at Durant, pouring in a career-high 61 points on 22-33 shooting and successfully reclaiming the season high for points in a game.
Better yet, since the All-Star break LeBron has been on an absolute tear averaging an astounding 37.4 points, 7.2 rebounds and 5 assists on 67.9 percent shooting (YES 67.9 PERCENT which is higher than the current league leader DeAndre Jordan).
While it may appear in interviews that LeBron is solely focused on guiding his team to a third straight championship, word in the locker room indicates he also has Kevin Durant and the MVP race on his radar.
Teammate Norris Cole recently told the Sun Sentinel, “As a competitor, I’m sure that fired him up. For him, he’s accomplished just about everything you can accomplish in this game. So he probably needed that motivation for himself. It wouldn’t surprise me if it did get to him and it’s showing.”
Motivation has been driving LeBron right back into the MVP hunt and these next few months of play will be crucial in determining whether Durant or the reigning champ go home with the award.
Follow Evan Caulfield on Twitter @fieldhoops