With the margins as razor-thin for this year's NBA MVP race, Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid's recent performance against the Boston Celtics may have gotten him a leg up over Nikola Jokic. That's certainly where Jimmy Butler's head is at.

The Miami Heat frontman gave his definitive take after hearing Embiid poured in 52 points on the Celtics in a clash of East titans. Not only did he declare the Sixers star this season's MVP, but also last season's deserving winner when he finished as the runner-up behind Jokic.

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Jimmy Butler isn't the most objective observer given that the pair used to be teammates on the Sixers and the two have remained close friends. But Joel Embiid is making a compelling late push that backs the statement up with some MVP-level play for Philly.

Both Doc Rivers and James Harden have backed their man after his masterpiece on Tuesday night. The weekday slate also saw Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets suffer one of their most embarrassing defeats against the Houston Rockets, which had head coach Michael Malone calling his team out and predicting an early playoff exit if they don't shape up.

These individual games towards the tail end of the season count just the same as any other contest earlier in the campaign, but they will surely leave an imprint as media members decide on who to cast their ballots for once the year wraps up.