Marcus Thompson: ‘Harden Jilted By Not Winning MVP’

In an acceptance speech reminiscent of Derrick Rose and Kevin Durant, Steph Curry teared up quite a bit Monday. Only this time, the NBA MVP teared up about his father, Dell, and thanked him for all he’s done for him in life.

“It was a good glimpse into who Curry is, especially for the rest of the nation who are kind of new to this Warriors team,” Bay Area News Group columnist Marcus Thompson said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “That’s just who he is. I was impressed.”

Curry didn’t just thank his father, either.

“He’s shouting out the PR staff by name and the equipment manager,” Thompson said. “He’s recognizing people who never get recognized on his platform. He went one-by-one with players and gave them a shout-out, including new guys that just got there. That’s kind of typical of Curry to just be the nice guy and to kind of recognize everybody. It was vintage Curry today. I have never seen him choking up like that talking about his dad – he’s usually matter-of-fact talking about his dad – but that got him a little bit. That was pretty new to see for us.”

Curry beat out James Harden for MVP honors in a race that wasn’t as close as many envisioned. The Warriors guard received 100 of 130 first-place votes for a total of 1,198 points, while Harden received 25 first-place votes for 936 points. LeBron James was third (five; 552), while Russell Westbrook and Anthony Davis rounded out the top five.

While James praised Curry for winning the award, Harden was a little less enthused. He shrugged it off, saying, “That’s tough,” and commented on the Rockets’ playoff chances going forward.

Scott Ferrall thought Harden was lying through his teeth.

“Of course he was lying,” Thompson said, prompting laughter from Ferrall. “That beats the alternative of him looking selfish. He could be like the jilted lover and (talk smack) on Steph Curry, but I think that was the safest play for him. For me, it just shows he really was upset. He could easily say, ‘That was great. I’m really proud of Steph Curry.’ They’ve done commercials together with Foot Locker. They have history together. So you could tell by his lack of praise for Curry that he was a little jilted by it. I think that was the safe way for him to go, even though I’m like you: I don’t believe it for one second. He really wanted (to win the award).”

As for the playoffs, the Warriors still haven’t lost a game. They swept the Pelicans in the first round and beat the Grizzlies, 101-86, in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals Sunday.

The Warriors are now 42-2 at home this season. They lost once to the Spurs in November and once to the Bulls in January – in overtime.

“They haven’t lost at ORACLE in a long time,” Thompson said. “It is the best arena in the league. It is the one that shakes the points the most. It’s the one that you go into it knowing the arena is another obstacle just like the team is. It’s kind of like Seattle in the NFL. When you go up there, you know you’re going to have to deal with the crowd in addition to the team – and ORACLE is like that.”

That was certainly the case in Game 1, as Memphis was outmatched from start to finish.

“I’m sure some of that had to do with the fact that (Mike) Conley is hurt and he’s one of their best players,” Thompson said. “Without him, they don’t stand a chance. They played a really good game, especially offensively, and they still only got 86 points. I just don’t see them winning in ORACLE. I don’t see anyone winning in ORACLE outside of San Antonio, and they’re now eliminated. Maybe LeBron could come in and do something magical. Maybe Chris Paul might do something magical. It’s going to take that level of a performance to beat the Warriors at ORACLE.”

What about Harden and the Rockets? Could they steal a game or two in Golden State?

“I don’t think they play defense well enough,” Thompson said. “We’ll find out how good the Rockets really are. When they came here to Oakland, they got ran out of the gym both times. They also got blown out once in Houston. You just have to be on your game to play the Warriors in ORACLE, and Houston has that helter-skleter kind of style. They jack up a lot of threes, they take a lot of bad shots, they don’t play D very well throughout the whole game – and all those things play right into the Warriors’ hands. It takes a San Antonio-type level of execution to beat the Warriors or Chicago-level defense to beat the Warriors at ORACLE. Those are the only teams we’ve seen beat them here, and I don’t know if Houston can do that.”

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