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Most Valuable Beard? James Harden's MVP quest

HOUSTON – James Harden cemented the Houston Rockets into the third seed in the Western Conference this season with two games to play.

Russell Westbrook's Oklahoma City Thunder are locked into the sixth seed.

What does that mean?

It means that the two front-runners to win the NBA's Most Valuable Player award will face off in the first round of the NBA Playoffs.

Harden has said publicly that he believes team wins mean more to an MVP candidate than individual stats.

The Rockets have eight more wins than the Thunder as the season draws to an end. The Rockets also beat the Thunder in three of their four meetings this season, including a 137-125 win in the most recent encounter in Houston on March 26.

Harden's individual stats aren't too shabby, either. He's averaging 29.3 points per game, 11.3 assists per game and 8.1 rebounds per game -- all of which are career highs. He's also averaging 1.5 steals per game while going to the foul line more than anyone else in the league - nearly 11 times per game.

Westbrook became the first player since Oscar Robertson in 1961-62 to average a triple-double over the course of an entire season.

His season averages?

He leads the league with 31.9 points per game. He also chips in 10.4 assists and 10.7 rebounds on a nightly basis.

He has 42 triple-doubles this season, which broke the record of 41 set by Robertson in the 1960-61 season.

Reminder: There are still two games to be played.