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James Harden: Playing in all games should matter in MVP race

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Harden places emphasis on being there for Rockets (0:28)

James Harden tells reporters he believes playing every game should be a factor in who wins MVP. (0:28)

HOUSTON -- With a big emphasis on rest dominating the NBA the past few weeks, Rockets star James Harden is proud that he has played in all 74 games thus far and has missed just one practice.

He thinks the fact that he hasn't missed a game this season should matter to MVP voters.

"Yeah, because you're not leaving your teammates out there to dry, " Harden said Tuesday before the Rockets' game against the Warriors. "For me, I worry about always having my teammates' back and always being out there."

On Tuesday night, Harden recorded his 20th triple-double of the season in the Rockets' 113-106 loss to the Golden State Warriors.

The Rockets point guard is playing with a jammed left wrist suffered during a fall against the Nuggets on March 18 in Denver. After Tuesday's game, Harden said the wrist is really bothering him, but he isn't planning to miss any games because of this injury.

Harden has played more minutes (8,772) than any NBA player the past three seasons. He's currently second in total minutes (2,666) -- behind the Timberwolves' Andrew Wiggins -- and tied for sixth in minutes per game (36.5) this season.

Harden isn't the only MVP candidate to participate in every game. Thunder guard Russell Westbrook has played in all 73 of his team's games, while Kawhi Leonard (66), LeBron James (67) and Isaiah Thomas (68) have missed games.

Harden is averaging 29.4 points, 11.3 assists and 8.0 rebounds for the Rockets (51-22). He is second in the league in points and first in assists.

"I'm going to have [my teammates'] back, and they know that they have mine as well," Harden said. "For the coaching staff and the fans, especially here in Houston, the front office, I'm here to play."