Philippine Daily Inquirer - - SPORTS -

LOS AN­GE­LES— Hous­ton’s James Harden, Cleve­land’s LeBron James and New Or­leans’ An­thony Davis are the fi­nal­ists an­nounced on Wed­nes­day for NBA Most Valu­able Player hon­ors.

Harden, the league’s lead­ing scorer in the reg­u­lar sea­son with an av­er­age of 30.4 points per game, ap­pears the fa­vorite to suc­ceed Ok­la­homa City Thun­der star Rus­sell West­brook as MVP when the awards are an­nounced on June 25.

The Rock­ets star, who was run­ner-up in the vot­ing the past three sea­sons, was in­stru­men­tal in the Rock­ets’ run to a league-lead­ing 65 reg­u­lar-sea­son wins.

James, who at 33 pro­duced one of the best sea­sons of his out­stand­ing ca­reer, is in the run­ning for a fifth ca­reer MVP ti­tle. He av­er­aged 27.5 points—the most for him since the 2009-2010 sea­son— along with 8.6 re­bounds and 9.1 as­sists and played in all 82 games of the reg­u­lar sea­son.

James led the league in min­utes played per game as he helped the in­con­sis­tent Cava­liers into fourth place in the East­ern Con­fer­ence.

He could join Bill Rus­sell and Michael Jor­dan as five­time MVP win­ners. Ka­reem Ab­dul-Jab­bar is the all-time leader with six.

Davis and the Pel­i­cans over­came a sea­son-end­ing in­jury to side­kick De­Mar­cus Cousins to earn the sixth seed in the West­ern Con­fer­ence.

Davis av­er­aged a ca­reer-best 28.1 points to go with 11.1 re­bounds and 2.6 blocks and is also a fi­nal­ist for De­fen­sive Player of the Year along with Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz and Joel Em­biid of the Phil­a­del­phia 76ers.—

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