James Harden lauds Westbrook record, but says wins matter most in MVP race
Russell Westbrook and James Harden are having historic seasons and are slugging it out for the MVP award. AP

JAMES Harden sounded off on where he stands in a heated debate for the NBA MVP award between him and Russell Westbrook, saying one stat that matters most in choosing the top player of the season — wins.

The Rockets star is on a historic pace for points produced, scoring or assisting on 56.3 points per game, with the all-time single-season record set by Tiny Archibald in 1972-73 close by at 56.8.

On the other hand, the Oklahoma City Thunder guard owned the new NBA mark of most triple-doubles in a season at 42 on Sunday (Monday, Manila time) in a win over the Denver Nuggets.

Asked about his view on the MVP debate between the former teammates who are setting and breaking records this season, Harden pointed out that only one stat comes to his mind when choosing who takes home the award.

“I think that’s the most important thing. I thought winning is what this is about, period,” said Harden, who had his 21st triple-double of the season in the Rockets win over the Kings on Sunday.

“I’m not going to get in-depth with all that, but I thought winning was the most important thing. If you set your team up in a position to have a chance, at the ultimate goal, that’s the most important thing,” he added.

After Sunday’s matches, the Rockets own a 54-26 record, eight games ahead of the Thunder with a first-round matchup in the playoffs all set between the two teams.

Meanwhile, fellow MVP candidate Kawhi Leonard has seven more wins as the West’s second-seed San Antonio Spurs have a 61-19 card.

Harden, though, went on to laud Westbrook’s triple-double feat for the season.

“It’s a huge accomplishment. He’s been playing extremely well all season long, it’s never been done before, it’s a great individual accomplishment, and it’s great,” he said. 

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