Dec 16, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) reacts after a play during the first quarter against the New Orleans Pelicans at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

John Wall and James Harden show how valuable guards are to their team, while Dwight Howard keeps big mean from getting overshadowed. 

3Dwight Howard - 27 Points, 15 Rebounds, 10-13 Shooting

When the Houston Rockets struggled to co-exist with Harden and Howard, Superman decided to return to his hometown Atlanta Hawks. In the Hawks’ 125-121 victory over the Toronto Raptors, Howard controlled the paint on both ends and looked like he turned back the hands of time.

None of Toronto’s bigs could handle him, and he muscled his way to seven offensive rebounds and caught a myriad of lobs out of the pick and roll. Furthermore, the Raptors were unable to resort to “hack-a-Dwight” at any point because he was shockingly efficient from the line and finished 7-of-10.

Friday marked the 11th game this season where Howard recorded 15 or more rebounds. He sits at second in the league with that number, tied with Andre Drummond, and is just three games behind Hassan Whiteside for the league lead.

2John Wall - 29 Points, 11 Assists, 3 Steals

The more the Washington Wizards have struggled, the more Wall has gotten overlooked. Despite averaging more than 24 points and nine assists a night, the Wizards have been unable to help him for a majority of the season — evidenced by a loss to the Orlando Magic where Wall scored 52.

Their fortunes have reversed, and the Wizards have won five of their last seven games with Wall putting up 28.6 points and 9.4 dimes a game. The contest against the Detroit Pistons was much of the same, and Wall was nearly perfect. Not only was he carving up Detroit’s defense, but he also did so without committing a single turnover, and his shot from three-point range was as accurate as ever.

Because of Wall’s routine penetration, the floor got opened up for his team, and five other Wizards scored in double-figures. If he continues at this pace, it wouldn’t be a shock to Wall get a vote or two from MVP if Washington can right the ship.

1James Harden - 29 Points, 13 Assists, 11 Rebounds

If the season were to end today, Harden would be the MVP. His performance under Mike D’Antoni has been astounding and puzzling. We all knew the Rockets would thrive with a coach who preaches an up-tempo offense, but this is shattering expectations.

It’s also shattering records, and Houston nailed 24 threes on Friday which marked the most ever in an NBA game.

As expected, Harden is the reason for their dominance. He’s sixth in the league in scoring (27.7) while leading it in assists (11.8), and his triple-double Friday night was his sixth this year, placing him second behind Russell Westbrook. Opponents have slight difficulties guarding someone who can shoot from 30 but can also take you off the dribble and Eurostep his way to the cup. And Harden is exploiting that.

Not only is he scoring, but he’s finding open teammates at an alarming rate, and his supporting cast is knocking down threes from everywhere.

Start a conversation with me on Twitter