The prize of 2012 MVP was once a one man show with Lebron James well out ahead of all challengers. It has since become undeniably a two horse race with Kevin Durant's nose out in front.
Durant's big time play in the last week and a half has shot him out ahead. Most notably, his Oklahoma City Thunder's statement wins over legitimate title contenders, the Lakers, Bulls and Heat.
Early on in the season it was questioned whether the Thunder's young stars were committed to playing hard on both ends of the floor, as in previous years their Defensive efforts were somewhat lacking.
Further questions have been raised of Durant since his entering the league, about his one-dimensional play. That he was simply a 'scorer' and not committed to winning. Durant assured us early on in the season that when the time comes to play defence, he would be there. And well... he is!
Of the Thunders previous 5 games to their victory over the Bulls on 2nd April (our time), Durant has been averaging 28 points, 10.4 boards, 4.6 assists and 1.8 steals per game.
His scoring is right on par with his season leading 27.7 points per game last season. However his rebounding, steals, and assists are all substantially above his career averages of 6.6, 1.2, and 2.8.
Durant has become much more interested in getting his teammates involved in the offence. He has also made good on his commitment to defence in the biggest moments.
However, the season is not over yet and if Durant cannot maintain his impressive play, he could easily find himself watching as Lebron James claims his 2012 MVP award. The Thunder doused the Heat on their home floor, but can they get the job done in Miami?
The Heat will have their opportunity for vengeance on Wednesday night (Thursday Aussie time). More than this, James will have an opportunity to settle the score with Durant. The victor of this game will be named the 2012 MVP.
If Durant can maintain his impressive intangible stats (defence and assists) and ensure the Thunder continue to win, and win against the biggest foes, the prize is all but his.