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Luhm: Thunder’s Durant will edge James for MVP

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It will be a surprise when he doesn’t win.

Like this year.

At a glance


Best ever? » Golden State coach Mark Jackson calls Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson the best shooting backcourt in NBA history. I’m not sure that’s true, but they did torch the Jazz for 64 points last week. “Those guys are special,” Jackson said. “Steph is obviously a superstar basketball player that has put together an incredible year. Klay continues to develop with his ability to put the ball on the floor and attack the paint area and play out the pick-and-rolls. He’s a nightmare to try and defend and the league will have to deal with him.”

Status quo » Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin is not a proponent of shortening the season from 82 games, as some concerned with player injuries have suggested. “I love it. I grew up in it,” Corbin said. “I never thought it was too long. I enjoy playing basketball. It’s what I do. It’s a grind. I’m not saying it’s easy. But it is what it is. That’s what makes the NBA what it is. You have 82 games and travel a lot, you have different opponents ... and you have four games in five nights. Now, who’s tough enough to fight their way through it?”

Sixth man » Now 37, Vince Carter has been a key to Dallas’ pursuit of a playoff berth. He averages 12 points in 24 minutes a game for the Mavs. Asked about Carter’s Sixth Man Award chances, coach Rick Carlisle said: “Winning matters and, when you can have a winning record, it helps for things like sixth man and other award-type things. But look. I think he wants to get into the playoffs. The sixth man is something that’s probably secondary to him, although he takes pride in the job and the commitment to it.”

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Beyond Durant’s amazing season, James’ chance in the MVP voting has been compromised by the lack of competitiveness in the Eastern Conference.

In the West, five teams entered play Saturday night with at least 52 wins. One team — Dallas, Memphis or Phoenix — will likely win 48 games and fail to reach the playoffs. In the East, only two teams have won more than 47 games and, with five days left in the season, only five clinched a winning record.

The obvious conclusion?

Durant put up his numbers against more quality opponents and more difficult competition than LeBron.

He deserves the MVP award he’s about to receive.

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