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Russ was out of bounds on that first rebound.

Still probably the MVP.

I hate to say that, because I feel like it almost endorses the B.S. shenanigans of stat-padding and absent-minded defense that he no doubt participates in. But Russ’s end-of-game dominance and every-minute intensity (while being a Usage monster and playing every game) make him *just* edge out Harden and Kawhi, for me.

I would’ve picked Harden three weeks ago, but his wrist injury and relatively poor play down the stretch, coupled with Russell’s complete frenzied mayhem, has made the difference.

That brutal three-game stretch two weeks ago when the Rockets lost to the Blazers and twice to the Warriors might’ve been the most significant period. Harden shot like 25% and they lost convincingly, right when he had a chance to show he had made the Rockets legit contenders.

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