By Adam Spolane

With 15 days remaining before the end of the NBA regular season, James Harden finds himself at the forefront of the league’s MVP race. After the Rockets held shootaround before Tuesday’s game against the Golden State Warriors, Harden was asked if playing every game should matter to the voters.

“Yeah, because you’re not leaving your teammates out there to dry,” he said. “For me, I worry about always having my teammates backs and always knowing that no matter what I’m going to be out there, unless I’m injured, and then that’s a different story.”

Tuesday is the Rockets 74th game of the season, and despite an injured left wrist, Harden will suit up for the 74th time.

“For me, I’m going to be out there, and I’m going to have their back, and they’ll have mine as well for the coaching staff, for the fans, especially here in Houston, the front office, I’m here to play.”

Among the four leading MVP candidates, Harden and Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook have yet to miss one of their team’s games this season. LeBron James has sat out six games for the Cleveland Cavaliers, while the San Antonio Spurs have held Kawhi Leonard out of seven games this season.

Harden hurt his wrist on March 18 in Denver, and after the Rockets win over Oklahoma City Sunday afternoon, Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni said that he could’ve missed the team’s previous game against New Orleans. He played, as he did after hiring his ankle in Chicago earlier in the month. Over the last three seasons, Harden has missed one game, and that was due to a suspension.


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