The duel between Russell Westbrook and James Harden has not clarified the fight for MVP

This happened in the third quarter: "Houston" exhibited on its aircraft, the size of an aircraft carrier, the comparative statistics of Russell Westbrook and James Harden. In addition to points on average for the game, the remaining numbers showed the advantages of the bearded man: the percentage of hits from the game, the percentage of three-pointers, the number of assistants on average.

The final score of yesterday's match also stayed behind Harden, as the "Rockets" beat "Thunder" (137: 125). This is the third victory of the current team of James over his former club for the last four meetings in Houston. The official twitter account after the fight made an unambiguous post with Harden's photo: "More wins, triple-doubles are just numbers."

The expectation, which appeared on the eve of Sunday's match, was to finally form an opinion on the two main candidates for the MVP title at the end of the regular season. The people wanted it, because it was a personal meeting between Harden and Westbrook, which was broadcast on national television. Russ has issued the 36th triple-double this season, having recorded on his account 39 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists. James was very good, having thrown 8 of 15 shots (22 points), and also collected 5 rebounds and gave 12 assists.

So, what did we learn? By and large, nothing ...

When the final siren sounded, immediately began an active discussion. In a sense, yesterday's result was an ideal indicator of what is at the center of the discussion of candidates for the MVP title: Westbrook has better individual indicators, Harden has a better team.

With Harden playing in the position of the point guard, the Rockets received serious help in scoring points from Lou Williams (31 points, 11 of 15), Trevor Ariza (24 points, 9 of 11) and Eric Gordon (24 points, 7 of 13) . At the same time, Westbrook took on most of the load in the attack "Thunder". It was Harden's best game against Oklahoma this season, but it can not be called a turning point in the context of mining a positive result. Westbrook was impressive, trying to change the outcome of the fight, but it was useless, because he was opposed by an excellent attack, "Houston".

The results of the previous three meetings determined one possession, but the Sunday match went out of control. "Rockets" was in the lead as much as 25 points (63.3% of the game, 20 of 39 from behind the arc). The average Harden statistics in four games against Oklahoma is 20.5 points (34.3% from the game), 7.3 rebounds, 12.3 assists and 6.3 losses. The average statistics of Westbrook in these matches: 36.3 points (44.7% from the game), 9 rebounds, 9.3 assists and 6 losses. "Houston" won 3 games out of four.

The fight for MVP is shrouded in ambiguity for some reason. This encourages good discussion, but creates confusion as to what really makes sense. Many say that Harden is better teammates when Westbrook drags his partners much weaker. There is also an opinion that James is a catalyst that makes players better when Russ, despite his individual power, does not give teammates a chance to prove themselves.

"Here, in Houston, we are aiming for victories, the correct movement on the floor, as well as other details and trivia of the game," states the defender of the Rockets, Patrick Beverly.

Nevertheless, the construction of the team around Harden took a long time. Houston had four trial and error seasons (with and without Dwight Howard, with Kevin McHale and without, and now with Mike D'Antoni) to find a system that could perfectly complement Harden. This is the first season in which the Thunder moves from the team created around Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook to the team where Russ is the only superstar. Athleticism and individual feats of the point guard are a necessity, not a whim of the player himself.

"Oklahoma" can still take the fourth place in the Western Conference, which would be an excellent addition to Westbrook's summary. The only thing he can not change is four games against Houston, in which he played perfectly, but only once managed to win. He issued another triple-double, but the series of 11 victories in a row was interrupted when he did something similar. The game itself was a real reflection of the struggle for MVP: Westbrook must make an incredible effort to "Oklahoma" stay afloat when Harden is surrounded by a deep composition, in which there are many skorers.

Neither Russell nor James are interested in talking about the struggle for MVP - they left them around. Ryan Anderson and D'Antony announced that Harden is MVP when Enes Kanter and Stephen Adams did the same thing a few days ago, releasing two videos about Westbrook's exploits.

Russ and James try not to delve into these vicissitudes, perhaps because of friendship and great respect for each other. It's always unusual to see Westbrook go to the opponent after the match, and even more so if it's a friendly conversation. But in the case of Harden, Russ never misses the opportunity to chat with the bearded man: both immediately after the siren, and after leaving the locker room.

"I've known James since childhood, because we both grew up in California. It's a real blessing to grow in the NBA with people you know for a long time. This is something that I will never take for granted. James is a good friend of mine. Of course, I know that he plays well, his team is doing well, because he is fighting in every game, "Westbrook said.

There is nothing more to add. Harden plays great. Like Westbrook, if not better. Rass's team is good, James is better. He is extremely important for the success of his teams, like their statistics. Still there will be a lot of discussions during two and a half weeks that remained until the end of the regular season. If you want to decide which of them deserves to become MVP, then yesterday's match will not give you anything new.