NBA Finals, Lakers Celtics Game 1: Sheed is ready to roll, but don't count on Daniels

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Celtics_Logo.gifWe checked in with Hawkeye over at the 4077 and here is the Celtics M*A*S*H* Unit report:

Rasheed Wallace has practiced with the team and is ready to go, he is expected so play tonight. It’s important, not only because the Celtics could use his shooting coming off the bench tonight, but because later in the series he is expected to get the start when Kendrick Perkins has to sit because of his seventh technical foul.

Rajon Rondo is sore but he said he is playing. Tony Allen’s ankle is not 100 percent but he will be playing tonight and likely guarding Kobe Bryant at times.

However, don’t expect to see Marquis Daniels. The third-string point guard suffered a concussion back in the Orlando series and has not yet gotten clearance to play from team doctors. Even if he did, his minutes would be limited at best, he did not show well trying to hang with JJ Redick in the last series. Kobe is better than JJ, and a much tougher cover.

James Harden: “I am the best player in the league. I believe that.”

James Harden, Stephen Curry
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James Harden was the MVP last season — if you ask his fellow NBA players.

The traditional award (based on a media vote) went to Stephen Curry (in the closest vote in four years), and that was the right call (in my mind). But from the time it happened Harden did not buy it. And he still doesn’t buy it. In the least — and he’s using that as fuel for this season. That’s what he told Fran Blinebury over at

“I am the best player in the league. I believe that,” he said. “I thought I was last year, too.”

Well, it’s a more realistic claim than Paul George’s.

“But that award means most valuable to your team. We finished second in the West, which nobody thought we were going to do at the beginning of the year even when everybody was healthy. We were near the top in having the most injuries. We won our division in a division where every single team made the playoffs.

“There’s so many factors. I led the league in total points scored, minutes played. Like I said, I’m not taking anything away from Steph, but I felt I deserved the Most Valuable Player. That stays with me.”

That’s very Kobe Bryant of you to turn that into fuel. Defining the MVP Award is an annual discussion that nobody agrees on.

I could get into how Harden was the old-school, traditional stats MVP, how that ignores how Steve Kerr used Curry, and how that opened up the Warriors’ offense to championship levels. Curry put up numbers, but he was also the distraction, the bright star that Kerr used to open up looks for Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and others. Curry’s strength was not just what he did with the ball in his hands, but his gravity to draw defenders even when he didn’t. Did the Warriors stay healthier than the Rockets? No doubt. Should Curry be penalized for that?

It’s simple for Harden — if he can put up those numbers again, if he can be the fulcrum of a top offense, he will be in the discussion for MVP again. And, if he can lead the Rockets beyond the conference finals, nobody will talk about that MVP snub anyway.