OHIO: Cleveland's LeBron James received his second NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) award in a row, taking 116 of a possible 123 first-place votes for a landslide triumph on Sunday over runner-up Kevin Durant.
James, who had 109 of a possible 121 first-place votes from a media panel last year, was more overwhelming this year to defeat Oklahoma City's Durant, who had four first-place votes, and Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers.
With high-leaping slam dunks and other spectacular moves, James has powered the Cavaliers into the second round of the NBA playoffs.
Cleveland beat Boston in game one of their best-of-seven series and hosts game two Monday.
"To be MVP is definitely an honor. It's a humbling experience," James said. "To receive that while you are trying to win a championship, you have to balance it out. I've been able to do that so far."
Orlando center Dwight Howard, fourth overall, received the other three first-place ballots. No player has ever won the award unanimously, although center Shaquille O'Neal, now a teammate of James, received 120 of 121 first-place votes in 2000, when he led the Los Angeles Lakers over Indiana in the NBA Finals.
James, 25, took his game to another level as he led the Cavaliers to a league-best 61 victories in the regular season. He averaged 29.7 points, 7.3 rebounds and 8.6 assists this season. James accepted his award at Rhodes Arena at the University of Akron, where he played many times as a high school star.
The Cavaliers playmaker became the 10th player to be named NBA Most Valuable Player in two consecutive seasons, joining Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Moses Malone, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Tim Duncan and Steve Nash. Russell, Chamberlain and Bird won it three times in a row.
"I'm just trying to do my job," James said. "Hopefully I can add onto that championship list of names and pass it on to someone when I'm done."
James is set to become a free agent after the season, with some teams already preparing to offer him a King's ransom to join them. Such matters, however, have not been a distraction for James as he tries to finally win an NBA title. "It hasn't been hard at all," James said.
"I understand what my job is. I want to be the best player every night I go on the court. Me being the focus in free agency has nothing to do with what's going on on the court. I can push that stuff aside."
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