HOUSTON – The MVP debate, which weakened as the regular season wound down, has been utterly demolished by Stephen Curry, the man who won the award and is proving, quarter by quarter, he deserved it.
Even the folks in Houston, after serenading second-place finisher James Harden with “MVP” chants in opening minutes Saturday night, eventually recognized the folly of their gesture.
They shut up, stunned by Curry’s methodical demolition of their Rockets and, by extension, any remaining chatter about Harden.
Curry’s latest statement, a 40-point outburst that led the Warriors to a 115-80 victory at Toyota Center – giving the Warriors a 3-0 lead in the Western Conference Finals – pretty much puts him in position to rest his case.
“He’s the MVP,” Warriors center Andrew Bogut said.
“He’s the MVP,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr seconded.
“He’s the best player in the league and he’s something special,” guard Klay Thompson said.
Even Rockets coach Kevin McHale couldn’t deny what his eyes had seen.
“The kid is a phenomenal talent,” McHale said. “He had an MVP year. He had a great game tonight, and I don’t think he really had (much) of an impact on the game (until) maybe five minutes to go in the second quarter.”
After a 3-point first quarter, Curry scored 15 in the second quarter and 19 in the third, connecting on 10 of 15 shots in those periods. He took the air right out of the pro-Rockets crowd.
“He was very patient; he just let his offense come to him,” McHale said. “And when it came, it came in bunches.”
After two playoff games in which edged Harden, largely because the Warriors won, Curry in Game 3 separated himself by a considerable margin.
Curry’s numbers: 40 points (12 of 19 shooting, 7-of-9 from deep), seven assists, five rebounds, two steals and a victory that gave his team a commanding lead.
[RELATED: Curry guts Houston crowd with 40-point night]
Harden’s numbers: 17 points (on 3-of-16 shooting, 1-of-5 from deep), four assists and three rebounds – and a 3-0 series hole that awaits only a few shovels of dirt.
And there is this: The Warriors have won their last seven games against the Rockets, with five of the wins by double-digit margins. That means, man to man, Curry is undefeated against Harden this season.
Moreover, it means the Warriors are one game away from the NBA Finals.
A win in Game 4 – and a sweep of the series – would serve as such a rousing final verdict that we’ll all wonder why there was any debate at all.