NBA award finalists revealed: James Harden, LeBron James, Anthony Davis headline MVP list – USA TODAY

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SportsPulse: LeBron James finished Game 2 with a 40-plus-point triple-double but it wasn’t enough as the Celtics remained undefeated in Boston in the playoffs. USA TODAY Sports

James Harden was first in the NBA in scoring and third in assists.(Photo: Troy Taormina, USA TODAY Sports)

Either James Harden, LeBron James or Anthony Davis will be this year’s NBA MVP, it was announced Wednesday night on TNT prior to Game 2 of the Western Conference finals between Golden State and Houston.

Harden, widely considered the favorite to take home the hardware, led Houston to a franchise-best 65 wins, but James put together what was arguably the best season of his career and Davis kicked his game into another gear following teammate DeMarcus Cousins’ season-ending injury in January.

The finalists for the rest of the NBA’s major regular-season awards — Rookie of the Year, Coach of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, Sixth Man of the Year and Most Improved Player — were also announced during the hour-long special. The awards were voted on by a panel of media members before the start of the playoffs.

The award winners will be revealed at the second annual NBA awards show on June 25. The event will take place in Santa Monica, Calif. and will air live on TNT.

The other award finalists (listed in no particular order) are below:

Rookie of the Year Utah’s Donovan Mitchell – Taken with the 13th overall pick, Mitchell spent the season making those who passed on him regret their decision.  Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons – After spending a year on the sidelines with a foot injury, Simmons’ rookie season proved to be well worth the wait.  Boston’s Jayson Tatum – The third overall pick played a significant role

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