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James Harden remains on top in a tight NBA MVP race

None of the top MVP candidates stood out this week, so we still have James Harden at No. 1.

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA MVP race remains as close as last week, although none of the top players were able to make major moves. Excellent performances were mixed in with poor ones, so nothing much has changed.

1. James Harden (Last week: 1)

Harden's perch atop these rankings was ripe for the taking after two poor performances in consecutive losses for the Rockets. But nobody stepped up quite enough to wrestle it away from him, and it helped that he finally got over whatever spell the Clippers had on him in previous games.

Harden has been mostly a disaster against the Clippers since becoming a Rocket, and he shot a combined 12-of-37 overall and 3-of-18 from the three in the first three meetings this season. But in Sunday's fourth and final meeting, the shooting guard put up 34 points, seven rebounds and seven assists in a last-second victory. He shot 7-of-16 overall, 3-of-5 from three and a whopping 17-of-18 from the charity stripe in the victory.

2. Russell Westbrook (Last week: 2)

Westbrook continues to put up ludicrous numbers, but a few high-turnover games plus poor shooting in some losses keeps him from leapfrogging Harden for the top spot. Westbrook notched a wack double-double on Wednesday, putting up 24 points and 10 turnovers in a loss to the Clippers. He almost notched an actual triple-double, but 10 turnovers is hard to look past. He was thoroughly outplayed by Chris Paul.

Westbrook followed that up with two brilliant performances in wins (including another triple-double that was almost a wack quadruple-double thanks to eight turnovers), but he faltered down the stretch in a loss against the Mavericks on Monday. Westbrook had seven more turnovers and tried to do too much without Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka in the lineup. That resulted in him fouling out in the game's final minute.

Westbrook could have a chance to make more MVP statements in the next few games with Durant and Ibaka out, although KD is supposed to be back soon.

3. Stephen Curry (Last week: 3)

Curry had a quiet week, sandwiching two sub-par performances around an evisceration of the lowly Knicks, which isn't much of an accomplishment. He also sat out a loss to the Nuggets for rest purposes, so he stays put at No. 3.

Even with a couple of poor outings, though, Curry is once again shooting the lights out from three after the All-Star break. Prior to the break, he shot "only" 39.9 percent from deep. Since the break, he's knocking down 50.5 percent. Those that have followed Curry for a long time know this second-half surge is an annual tradition.

4. Anthony Davis (Last week: 4)

Davis played only one game over the last week, and what a game it was. In a double-overtime marathon, the 22-year-old played 50 minutes and notched 36 points, 14 rebounds, nine blocks and seven assists against Denver:

Unfortunately, Davis's big performance was all for naught, as the Pelicans lost and fell behind the Thunder again in the playoff race.

And now for your weekly check on Davis's PER: a whopping 31.69. That puts him pretty darn close to Wilt Chamberlain's NBA record of 31.82. I wouldn't put it past Davis to top that record.

5. LeBron James (Last week: 5)

James had 31 points, seven assists, five boards and a few daggers in the thriller against the Spurs, but Kyrie Irving was the star of that show with 57 points, so the four-time MVP doesn't get to move up based off that game.

James nearly racked up a triple-double in the demolition against the Magic, but he was outplayed by Dwyane Wade in a return to Miami on Monday. James had 26 points in a blowout loss to the Heat, but 16 of those points came in garbage time, and it was strange that Cavaliers head coach David Blatt had his star play nearly the entire fourth quarter in a rout. Maybe because it was in Miami.

6. Chris Paul (Last week: 6)

Paul was masterful against Westbrook last week, scoring 33 points and dishing out nine assists in an impressive win. The last two games weren't pretty, but his numbers in March still look fantastic. The point guard is averaging 21.6 points, 10.6 assists and 4.0 rebounds while shooting 49.6 percent from the field in March. Now Blake Griffin is back, and we'll see if the Clippers can find their groove again once Griffin gets acclimated.

7. LaMarcus Aldridge (Last week: 9)

Aldridge is one of the few players on this list who was consistently great over the last week. In four games since last Wednesday, the big man averaged 24 points and 11 rebounds on 58 percent shooting. Portland went 3-1 in those four games, including impressive wins over Houston and Toronto.

8. Marc Gasol (Last week: 7)

Gasol put together three nondescript performances last week, although he flirted with a triple-double in a win over Milwaukee. He also sat out a game for rest purposes. For those reasons, he drops a spot this week.

9. Jeff Teague (Last week: 8)

Teague had 23 points and six assists in a tight win over the Kings, but he rested against the Lakers and failed to reach double figures in both points and assists in two other games last week. So, yeah, nothing too exciting here.

10. John Wall (Last week: 11)

Are Wall and the Wizards back? After a prolonged slump, Washington has won four straight games and the point guard has really picked his game up. He averaged  22 points, 9.5 assists and six rebounds while shooting 57 percent overall and 60 percent from three in the last four games.

Next five: Damian Lillard, Klay Thompson, Kyrie Irving, Al Horford, DeAndre Jordan