Things to watch this week in NBA


January 03, 2017
AP Houston Rockets guard James Harden (right) in action.


MVP! MVP!: It's Russell Westbrook vs James Harden on Thursday when Oklahoma City visit Houston. Winner pads what so far are the two leading MVP rEsumEs.

BIG MAN BATTLE: Karl-Anthony Towns vs Joel Embiid could be a big-man battle to watch for years, and Round 2 comes tonight in Philadelphia. Towns (25 points, 10 rebounds) and the Timberwolves rolled over Embiid (10 and 10) and the 76ers in November.

TERRIFIC THOMAS: Isaiah Thomas finished his dazzling December with a career-best, 52-point performance in a victory over Miami, and he opens January tonight against the Utah Jazz, who went into the new year allowing a league-low 94.7 points per game.

END OF THE ROAD: Toronto wrap up a difficult six-game Western Conference trip tonight at San Antonio.

HELP ON THE WAY?: Teams looking to fill roster spots have another option starting Thursday when 10-day contracts can be signed.

STAT LINE OF THE WEEK: James Harden, Rockets: 53 points, 17 assists, and 16 rebounds in a 129-122 victory over the New York Knicks on Saturday. In his second straight triple-double, Harden became the first player in NBA history to have at least 50 points, 15 assists, and 15 rebounds in a single game, according to information provided by the Rockets from the Elias Sport Bureau.

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