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Antetokounmpo, Harden, George finalists for NBA MVP award

Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo is among the three finalists for the NBA Most Valuable Player award, along with reigning MVP James Harden of Houston and Oklahoma City's Paul George (AFP Photo/JONATHAN DANIEL)

New York (AFP) - Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, Houston Rockets star James Harden and Oklahoma City's Paul George are the three finalists for the NBA's Most Valuable Player award.

Harden is the reigning MVP, but if he wins this year the honor will again come amid playoff disappointment after the Rockets were eliminated from the second round by the defending champion Golden State Warriors.

Antetokounmpo led Milwaukee to the best record in the league and a berth in the Eastern Conference finals, where they are battling the Toronto Raptors for a place in the championship series.

The Thunder were eliminated in the first round as George struggled with a shoulder injury that eventually required surgery.

The MVP winner will be announced on June 24 in Los Angeles.

The league announced three finalists for six individual awards based on voting by a panel of sports media.

Both Antetokounmpo and George are also in the running for Defensive Player of the Year -- along with Utah's Rudy Gobert, who won the award last year.

The finalists for Rookie of the year are Deandre Ayton of the Phoenix Suns, Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks and Slovenian Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks.