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NBA Playoffs: Embiid and Antetokounmpo named MVP finalists alongside Jokic

Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks and Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers are both in contention for the MVP award.Cameroon’s Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers and Greek-Nigerian Giannis Antetokounmpo of Milwaukee Bucks have been named 2021-22 NBA MVP finalists alongside reigning NBA Most Valuable Player Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets. All three are involved in the NBA playoffs which began at the weekend. Embiid sparked the 76ers to an opening win over Toronto while Serbian Jokic led the Nuggets in their opening loss to Golden State and Antetokounmpo, the 2019 and 2020 MVP, led the Bucks as they beat the Chicago Bulls.Embiid has already become the first ever international player to win the NBA scoring title, having finished the gruelling 82-game regular season averaging 30.6 points per game.Three finalists were named for six annual awards based on results from a global media panel, with winners to be announced during the NBA playoffs.NBA Coach of the Year finalists include Taylor Jenkins of Memphis, Erik Spoelstra of Eastern Conference top seeds Miami and Monty Williams of the Western Conference top seeds and overall NBA-leading Phoenix Suns.The NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year finalists include Utah’s Rudy Gobert, a French center who won the award in 2018, 2019 and 2021, Boston’s Marcus Smart and Phoenix’s Mikal Bridges.Memphis star guard Ja Morant was among the finalists for the NBA Most Improved Player award, joined by Cleveland’s Darius Garland and San Antonio’s Dejounte Murray.Finalists for the NBA Sixth Man of the Year award, for the top reserve player, include Miami’s Tyler Herro, Phoenix’s Cam Johnson and Cleveland’s Kevin Love.NBA Rookie of the Year finalists include Toronto’s Scottie Barnes, Detroit’s Cade Cunningham and Cleveland’s Evan Mobley.

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