Kevin Durant is on the verge of achieving immortality as he is chasing Michael Jordan’s streak of consecutive games with at least 25 points. MJ’s record is 40 games, which his Airness set back in the 1986-87 season. Durant, after the Thunder’s Friday night win over the Toronto Raptors, is already at 34. And so the question that lingers in the minds of NBA fans is: Can Durant stretch his streak to 41?
To answer that, let’s take a look at the following:
Record GB Last 10
San Antonio 53-16 - 10-0
Oklahoma 51-18 2 7-3
LA Clippers 49-21 4.5 9-1
The Thunder still have a very good chance of overtaking the San Antonio Spurs for the best record in the West considering that they will still play one more game against each other on April 3rd, and that OKC owns the tiebreaker between the two teams. In the East, the Indiana Pacers are 51-19, while the defending champions Miami Heat are at 47-21. So, if the Thunder catch the Spurs out West, chances are they will also have home court advantage throughout the playoffs.
Russell Westbrook’s latest injury is not serious. Accordingto ESPN.com:
“A Thunder spokesman said the three-time All-Star had an MRI and a clinical exam Saturday, and team doctors said there were no issues after Toronto’s Kyle Lowry inadvertently jumped into Westbrook near the sideline with 7:37 left in the third quarter Friday night.”
So with Westrbrook’s expected return, Durant’s crew is complete for their finishing kick. And with the chance to go to the top of the standings, head coach Scott Brooks will have to play KD his regular minutes for the Thunder to get a shot at this.
The next seven games for the Thunder favor Kevin Durant. Here are OKC’s next seven games and Durant’s historical scoring performance against the opposition:
Mar 24 vs Denver 3 games 32.7 points per game 36 minutes
Mar 28 vs Sacramento 2 games 28.5 points per game 35 minutes
Mar 30 vs Utah 3 games 36.3 points per game 37 minutes
Apr 3 vs San Antonio 3 games 25.7 points per game 38 minutes
Mar 25 @ Dallas 1 game 33.0 points 52% field goal shooting 40 minutes
Apr 4 @ Houston 1 game 36.0 points 18-20 from the foul line 43 minutes
Apr 6 @ Phoenix 1 game 34.0 points 50% field goal shooting 44 minutes
He’ only struggled in one game against these teams:
12/21/13 @ San Antonio: 17 points 8-20 from the field in 38 minutes.
Otherwise, he’s torched them as much as he’s torched the entire league this season. Durant’s averaging 32.2 points per game this season. He’s turned on his afterburners and has averaged 34.9 points per game since the All-Star break and 35.5 points per game in the month of March. And barring any unfortunate injury, which most probability won’t happen, he’s not showing any signs of slowing down. Not with the title at stake.
According to Thunder senior reporter Darnell Mayberry, Kevin Durant was asked about being mentioned in the same sentence as Michael Jordan. Durant answered smilingly:
“I’m comfortable with it. But Jordan has done way more than just score 25 points in however many games. He’s a champion, an MVP, a Finals MVP. He’s done it all. So I’d rather be in that conversation with him. But it’s definitely an honor to be in the same sentence as Michael Jordan. I never want to take that for granted. But I’ve got bigger goals in mind.”
That interview was shortly before the Thunder’s game against the Toronto Raptors last Friday. After the game, Durant registered the following stat line: 51 points, 12 rebounds and 7 assists. Durant also hit the game winner with 1.7 seconds left in double OT. The Thunder closed out the game on a 9-0 run after trailing by 8 with 49 seconds left in the game. Durant scored six of those points, including that dagger which gave them the 119-118 win. Some say that was the MVP clinching performance for Kevin Durant.
Magic Johnson agreed via Twitter:
“Kevin Durant’s game winning 3 point shot proved to us that he is the MVP.”
The MVP race is down to LeBron and Durant. Observers say that this one is the closest MVP contest in recent history. Both the King and KD have had incredible seasons, and they’ve both led their teams to the upper echelon of the league. James tried to put the exclamation point with his 61 point performance back on March 3rd. Durant responded to that last Friday. We’ll be expecting a reply from James anytime now, and an encore from Durant as well; but as for that MVP race? Perhaps the next three week will decide who wins it.
So with the MVP still up for grabs, Kevin Durant will still go full throttle to close the regular season and boost his chances of finally beating out LeBron James for MVP honore, which he hasn’t done so far.
In April 2013, Durant told SI’s Lee Jenkins:
“I was the second-best player in high school. I was the second pick in the draft. I’ve been second in the MVP voting three times. I came in second in the Finals. I’m tired of being second. I’m not going to settle for that. I’m done with it.”
The guy’s totally motivated to win it, although he’ll always say that winning the title is his foremost dream. According to a report by Thunder’s senior reporter Darnell Mayberry, Durant said this of winning the title:
“That’s everybody’s goal. That’s everybody’s goal. Individual accolades come along with it, but that’s everybody’s goal is to be the last team standing.”
But for the Thunder to be the last man standing, Kevin Durant has got to be the Kevin Durant we’ve seen all year. And that would be the scoring champion who’s averaging 30 plus points per game, with or without Russell Westbrook. And although the opponents know that they have to stop KD from scoring in order to beat OKC, they haven’t been able to shut him down so far.
Toronto point guard Greivis Vasquez spoke on Durant and said — “If you got Kevin Durant on your team, you’re safe. He’s like Jesus in this league.” Vasquez hit the bullseye with that statement.
We’ve always associated March Madness with the NCAA, but this year it’s what best describes Kevin Durant and his unbelievable month. Next month, we’d be April fools to think he won’t get to 41.