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MVP Watch: Lillard Trails LeBron & Embiid in Tight Awards Race

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Yahoo Sports NBA Insider Chris Haynes placed Damian Lillard near the top of his list of MVP hopefuls at the midpoint of the 2020-21 season.

Portland Trail Blazers v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard has built a strong MVP case for himself through the first half of the 2020-21 regular season. Despite a long list of injuries, the Lillard-led Blazers have managed to amass a 21-14 record.

In his latest look at the MVP race, Yahoo Sports NBA Insider Chris Haynes placed Lillard at No. 3 in his rankings. Haynes explained that Lillard’s award hopes are trending in the right direction after the Blazers recovered from a four-game losing streak before the All-Star break.

The Portland Trail Blazers went through a tough period, coughing up four consecutive games last week and Lillard’s MVP candidacy took a hit. But they’ve since righted the ship and enter the All-Star break on a three-game winning streak. In his last two games, Lillard dominated the fourth quarter to beat Golden State and then ended the first half of the season torching Sacramento for 44 points. Portland is fifth in the Western Conference standings without CJ McCollum (foot) and Jusuf Nurkic (wrist). Lillard is single-handedly keeping his team in the top half of the conference, which is quite impressive.

Through 34 outings this season, Lillard is averaging 29.8 points and 8.0 assists per game. He trailed only LeBron James and Joel Embiid in the latest rankings from Haynes.