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Warriors vs. Rockets: Klay Thompson on defending James Harden

The Warriors face MVP candidate James Harden and the Rockets today in their first game of 2019.

NBA: Playoffs-Golden State Warriors at Houston Rockets Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype released his 2019 NBA MVP rankings today and announced that Houston Rockets guard James Harden has ascended to the top spot for the first time this season after an insanely hot scoring streak lately.

Daniel Hardee already discussed the idea of Harden’s MVP candidacy in his preview of tonight’s game, but Kennedy laid out the stats for the reigning MVP’s last 11 games in justifying his rise to the top spot over Giannis Antetokounpo, who is widely considered the favorite for the award.

Over the last 11 games, Harden is averaging 39.7 points, 8.5 assists, 6.3 rebounds, 5.5 threes and 2.1 steals. He recorded 10 straight games with 35 points and 5 assists, which is the longest such streak in NBA history. Also, he became just the third player in the last 30 years to score at least 400 points in a 10-game span, joining Michael Jordanand Kobe Bryant.

That’s impressive, but here at Golden State of Mind we try to help you all keep things in perspective and not get too up or too down about things that happen while players in Cleveland are still trying to find their way during a snowy winter.

Anyway, Klay Thompson was asked about defending Harden in light of how hot he’s been recently and specifically addressed the issue of trying to guard him without drawing the fouls that send him to the free throw line repeatedly.

Harden is a tough check, but between Thompson and Andre Iguodala I’m pretty confident the Warriors can keep the reigning MVP in check.

In short, Thompson seems about as concerned about this first-week-of-January individual matchup as I am.

Feel free to leave your thoughts on Harden’s run and observations of the game in the comments below.

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