LA, December 28: James Harden believes his performances merit him being named MVP again, declaring "it's coming back" after he continued his hot streak against the Boston Celtics on Thursday.
The Houston Rockets guard had 45 points in his team's 127-113 victory, meaning he has now scored 30 or more in eight successive games and at least 35 in his last six.
Harden's form has helped propel the Rockets to eight wins in their last nine outings, lifting last season's losing finalists in the Western Conference up the standings after a shaky start to the season.
Having been named MVP for the 2017-18 campaign, the 29-year-old also feels he is "in that conversation" when it comes to discussing candidates for this year's award.
"Of course I should be in that conversation," he told the media.
"I mean, I receive a lot of hate, but it won't stop me from going out there and killing every single night, being that dog that I am.
"You can name a few other people that should be in the conversation. But realistically? It's coming back."
Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry was the last player to be named MVP in successive seasons, securing the honour in 2015 and 2016.
Harden registered 17 points in the opening quarter against the Celtics and hit nine of his 18 three-point attempts. He also recorded six assists in the home victory.
His red-hot form has helped improve the Rockets to a 19-15 record and head coach Mike D'Antoni praised the six-time All-Star.
"He has a mastery of the game and a control and an ease of which he plays," D'Antoni said. "It's fun to watch."