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All-Star player defends James Harden’s step-back move, but favors Giannis Antetokounmpo for MVP

James Harden Giannis Antetokounmpo

Houston Rockets guard James Harden has put himself in tight competition for a second consecutive Most Valuable Player award after catching up to Milwaukee Bucks phenom Giannis Antetokounmpo in recent months.

His bruising style of barreling down court and drawing fouls, coupled with a patented step-back move, have made The Beard into an offensive juggernaut, one which has ticked some players the wrong way.

Some players are fans of Harden’s high-scoring ways while others are conflicted, but one of his fellow All-Star counterparts hoped to see his accolades as objectively as possible:

“Guys can say he gets away with travels on the step-back or he flings his body into people to get fouls, but honestly, a lot of us get away with stuff like that,” said one All-Star who wished to remain anonymous because he didn’t want to court controversy, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst.

“Just speaking for myself, and I don’t know how others feel, but what he does isn’t always team basketball. If you look at how Giannis plays, that’s more the way I was raised in the game. Just my opinion.”

James Harden will resume his season with a rolling 31-game streak of scoring 30 or more points in a game, one that is second only to the legendary Wilt Chamberlain, a streak that is believed to be virtually untouchable by nature.

The Beard has helped his team climb from 14th in the West to the fifth spot, where the Rockets currently sit, and he’s neck-and-neck with Antetokounmpo for the title of 2018-19 MVP.