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Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry was officially announced as the 2014-15 NBA Most Valuable Player on Monday morning. The news was first broken on Sunday night by Monte Poole of CSNBayArea.com and later confirmed by Yahoo Sports' Marc Spears.
Curry received 1,198 total points in the voting and received 100 first-place votes out of 130 ballots. Houston's James Harden (936 points, 25 first-place votes), Cleveland's LeBron James (552 points, five first-place), Oklahoma City's Russell Westrbrook (352 points) and New Orleans' Anthony Davis (203) rounded out the top five.
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Poole first reported the news following the Warriors' comfortable victory over the Memphis Grizzlies in Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals.
Curry had been anxiously awaiting news of the award. A week ago, he told Yahoo's Marc Spears that he got nervous after receiving a call on his phone that said it was from "NBA." It was actually NBA vice president Rod Thorn asking what the referees told him after he was fouled on a game-tying 3-pointer at the end of regulation during Game 3 of the Warriors' first-round series against the New Orleans Pelicans.
Curry worked his way into the NBA conversation early as the Warriors established themselves as the best team of the regular season. He was the top player on a roster that won a franchise-record 67 games, averaging 23.8 ppg (48.7 percent from the field, 44.3 percent from deep) and 7.7 apg while breaking his own 2-year-old record for 3-pointers made in a single season. Curry also improved his previously poor defense and played with plenty of style to make himself the most consistently fun superstar in the NBA.
Harden led a number of challengers for the award, including Oklahoma City Thunder dynamo Russell Westbrook (whose candidacy died as soon as his team missed out on the playoffs), New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul, and some guy on the Cleveland Cavaliers named LeBron James. Harden's candidacy depended on his brutally efficient scoring and role as the offensive linchpin for a Rockets squad that lost Dwight Howard for several months due to knee soreness. He would have been a perfectly acceptable winner of the award, but Curry had the credentials and broad popularity to become the clear frontrunner. He then won even more support with several fantastic performances after the Warriors had already clinched the West's No. 1 seed. Curry also has a strong argument for his level of importance to the Warriors relative to that of other players, because first-year head coach Steve Kerr reformulated the team's elite offense around his skills when he took over last summer.
Wilt Chamberlain is the only player in Warriors history to win MVP, but he did so in 1959-60 when the franchise was located in Philadelphia.
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