Updated MVP Race

19 Mar

By Ken Berger of CBSSports.com

MVP Watch: Here’s an updated look at my top five in the MVP race.

1. Derrick Rose, Bulls: As explained here, Rose has ascended to the top of my MVP list, and the Bulls’ 11-2 record since the All-Star break — including two impressive wins over Miami — has done nothing to knock him out of the top spot.

2. Kobe Bryant, Lakers: The champs seem to have righted themselves, going 10-1 since the break and beating every playoff team they’ve faced except Miami. Despite injury, Bryant has been the driving force during this stretch — and I’m not even counting his well-publicized shooting exhibition on the American Airlines Arena court after the loss to the Heat.

3. Kevin Durant, Thunder: Durant keeps downplaying his own and the Thunder’s success, but the arrival of a legit center in Kendrick Perkins means Oklahoma City is ready to compete with the heavy hitters. If Durant didn’t think he was MVP material before, he will be now if the Thunder finish as strong as I think they will.

4. Dwight Howard, Magic: Orlando is only7-5 since the break and continues to be a suspect defensive team after the trades with Washington and Phoenix. But it’s not Howard’s fault. He’s posted a double-double in every game he’s played since Jan. 21 — including seven 30-point games and two 40-point games. I don’t buy this notion that Howard should be excused from MVP consideration because of games lost due to technical foul-induced suspensions.

5. LeBron James, Heat: LBJ was my MVP for most of the season, but the Heat falling into yet another funk a week ago only underscored why he and Dwyane Wade have fallen off my radar.

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