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Kevin Durant, LeBron James still battling
Posted By HOOPSWORLD On January 15, 2013 @ 2:00 am In All,Wirenews | Comments Disabled
by Adi Joseph, USA TODAY Sports
This one won’t be solved in one week or one year.
Kevin Durant and LeBron James play a perpetual game of anything-you-can-do-I-can-do-better. It’s the NBA’s best individual rivalry since Magic Johnson and Larry Bird owned the 1980s. The one-upmanship never ends.
And right now, Durant is on top.
The Oklahoma City Thunder forward narrowly edged his Miami Heat counterpart in MVP voting by USA TODAY Sports’ NBA power rankings committee. These are the two best players in the NBA by most measures, but picking between them is like splitting hairs.
Our committee — USA TODAY Sports’ Adi Joseph, Kevin Spain and Jeff Zillgitt; Hoopsworld.com’s Steve Kyler and Lang Greene; and the Detroit Free Press’ Vincent Ellis — has gone back and forth seemingly every week. Things remain largely up in the air, and next week, James could be on top again.
Here’s how close they were, plus the three other runners-up (voting before Monday’s games; points on a 7-5-3-2-1 scale):
Also receiving votes were the San Antonio Spurs’ Tim Duncan (two points) and Tony Parker (one) and the Houston Rockets’ James Harden (one).
Durant had the upper hand in the team race, too, by a much easier margin. The Thunder, with the best record in the NBA, swept our team power rankings.
Here’s the top five (points on a 30-29-28-…-3-2-1 scale):
The rookie of the year voting has gone similarly for the past month and a half, with Damian Lillard nearly always sweeping the votes. But this week offered a slight upset. Lillard’s comfortable edge on the opposition has slimmed as top pick and preseason favorite Anthony Davis has played more games.
Davis stole one first-place vote from Lillard. Here is the top three (points on a 5-3-1 scale):
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