Whose House? Durant’s House!




ATLANTA – The final step in Kevin Durant‘s evolution from budding superstar to bona fide showman has been a work in progress over the past three seasons.

The three-time scoring champion has always been about substance over flash, a trait that has separated him from some of his high-scoring predecessors. But the ability to stun, silence and then send a road crowd for the exits before the final buzzer is a quality only a handful of true superstars are able to manage on a nightly basis.

Durant did all that and more Wednesday night, turning the Hawks’ “Highlight Factory” into his personal playground in the second half of a 100-92 win — the Thunder’s 12th straight.

Durant scored 28 of his season-high 41 points after halftime, 18 during a wicked fourth-quarter stretch of brilliance, having already ceded the first half to Russell Westbrook and his 21-point assault.

The Thunder are basically unstoppable when these two play the way they did against the Hawks. They are 11-1 this season when both of their All-Stars score 20 or more points.

Durant was 14-for-23 from the floor, 4-for-8 from deep and nailed nine of his 10 free throws. He also added 13 rebounds, three assists and two blocks (though had that many on one particular play). Westbrook finished his night with 27 points, a game-high 11 assists, two steals and a block while recording his 10th double-double of the season.

But Durant’s work from one end of the floor to the other during one wild stretch in the third quarter is what allows him to knock on your door and take over the place away from home.

The Hawks cut a 16-point lead to just four, 73-69, when Josh Smith spun into the paint with Durant guarding him and went up three times only to be stopped by Durant each and every time. Durant finished the sequence at the other end with a dunk over Smith and, after being fouled on the play, he stepped into the crowd behind the basket and pounded his chest. He shouted, “this is my house,” with a colorful adjective tossed in for good measure and toward the fans sitting near courtside who spent a good portion of the night jawing at the visiting team.

“Uh, I don’t remember [saying] that,” Durant said and then laughed.

But it wasn’t about him showboating as much as it was him stating the obvious.

“We double-teamed him, we zoned him,” said Hawks coach Larry Drew said. “He still made shots. You can’t stop him when he’s hot like that. 

“[The Thunder are] a very talented team. Durant is as good as there is in this league. Russell Westbrook is one of the top point guards in this league. You really have to be on the money with your coverage on them, and you also have to make sure you have a backup coverage. Those guys are capable of getting it going, and once they get it going, they’re a tough team to defend.”

How about impossible, when Durant and Westbrook are on like they were on this night.

Durant insisted that he was just being aggressive and taking whatever shots the defensive gave him after halftime. He admitted to taking some questionable shots as well, but when your range is anywhere within the metropolitan area you are playing in that night, what’s the big deal?

“I’ve seen it so many times,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said, “I know when he gets hot, it’s hard to turn him off. And he was hot in that second half. I didn’t realize he had 41. But I very rarely look at the guys’ individual scores.

“I thought that second half he was making shots but he was just being much more aggressive. Some of his turnovers in the first half were just [him] being a little lackadaisical with the ball. In the second half was very physical with his first dribble, and when he’s physical with his first dribble it’s very hard to stay in front of him.”

Durant had one of his worst shooting games of the season (7-for-17) in a 104-95 loss to these Hawks Nov. 4 in Oklahoma City. They’re 20-2 since then and Durant looks every bit like the scoring machine everyone saw in the summer during the London Olympics, when he carved up the competition from distance as well as inside the 3-point arc.

Durant’s growing more and more comfortable with his role as not only the Thunder’s vocal and emotional leader but also as one of the true showstoppers in the game (the role guys like Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony relish, especially on the road.) And it’s a sight to behold when he’s in the zone the way he was after halftime against the Hawks.

“I think the best part about it is my teammates wanted me to shoot it, they always give me confidence,” he said. “I felt good. Russell got me going. I just tried to exploit the matchups, make the right passes sand stay aggressive.”

22 Comments

  1. Dew says:

    This man is the best player in the NBA. Shows signs of George Gervin in his finesse game, signs of Jordan in the way he dominates a game mentally, and signs of Magic in making everyone around him better while also being tall and able to move around like Magic did. Players feed off this man’s intensity and rise to his level. Anyone playing for the Thunder currently are proven facts of this. This guy should of been MVP last year and is on his way to getting it this year if he can take over the scoring title again. Only time will tell when KD and the Thunder will win the title. They will get one if Durant has anything to do with it.

  2. kenny says:

    Kevin Durant better not get screwed out of the MVP this year if he does I’m going to see that the MVP race is rigged expecially if James gets it

    • wadeallday says:

      Haha James been getting it for the past what 3 years. If OKC keeps winning and KD keeps playing like this, id give to him, over James, but that is if they keep playing like this.

  3. QuestionMark says:

    The way OKC and KD are playing, I expect nothing less than a championship and a MVP and Finals MVP from KD.

  4. Tessie R. Simmons says:

    What we see on the outside is an expression of what’s on inside, Kevin is all heart; Westbrook all determination. t’s all about “Determination that comes for the heart”

  5. hyuuga neji says:

    OKC in Finals lol

  6. Kim says:

    I was at this game. It was awesome to watch. Go OKC!!! They will win the championship this year! They are not flashy, just play great basketball!

  7. dattebayo says:

    This guy is the best scorer in the league by far. It’s a mystery (like Kobe’s last 3 All Defensive Team honors), how this dude is not leading the league in shot attempts. All the other teams most be real glad about that :D

  8. [...] City Thunder wins 12th straightSan Jose Mercury NewsYahoo! Sports -New York Times -NBA.com (blog)all 422 news [...]

  9. GoDa says:

    I’m not shocked, he’s a great offensive player. And he shoots efficiently, also is merging as an all around talent.

  10. [...] Whose House? Durant's House! « NBA.com | Hang Time BlogNBA.com (blog)ATLANTA – The final step in Kevin Durant's evolution from budding superstar to bona fide showman has been a work in progress over the past three seasons. The three-time scoring champion has always been about substance over flash, a trait that has …NBA: Kevin Durant scores 41 points as Oklahoma City Thunder wins 12th straightSan Jose Mercury NewsThunder vs. Hawks results: Oklahoma City wins NBA-best 12th straight, 100-92SB Nation Kansas CityDurant's 41 Help Thunder Extend StreakNew York TimesBleacher Report -NorthJersey.comall 420 news articles » [...]

  11. bob says:

    good writing sekou but dont overdo it. Even durant will tell you its a team game and every win is a combined effort

  12. [...] Whose House? Durant's House!NBA.com (blog)ATLANTA – The final step in Kevin Durant's evolution from budding superstar to bona fide showman has been a work in progress over the past three seasons. The three-time scoring champion has always been about substance over flash, a trait that has …NBA: Kevin Durant scores 41 points as Oklahoma City Thunder wins 12th straightSan Jose Mercury NewsThunder vs. Hawks results: Oklahoma City wins NBA-best 12th straight, 100-92SB Nation Kansas CityDurant's 41 Help Thunder Extend StreakNew York TimesBleacher Report -NorthJersey.comall 411 news articles » [...]

  13. AnnoYouLater says:

    people keep giving the credits to sam presti being a good drafter but i think the credits should go to scotty brooks…he is prolly the best player developer…i mean look what these young players become…not only durant westbrook and harden everyone he coached,,,all of them improved their games,,,being a talented player wont make u like durant its good coaching…

  14. aaron says:

    MVP aka Best in the world…nuff said

  15. James Ligon says:

    I actually thought that it is Kevin Durant’s house that he lives in…

    • Go NETS! says:

      Duran’s house wouldn’t fit thousands of fans and a basketball court. He’s not that rich. we should trade Duran and Westbrook for Gasol or for Brook Lopez..

  16. fedizzle says:

    Great article except you’re making it sound like KD is finally reaching superstardom… The guy has been a show stopper for the last 3 years.. Lebron and KD are on a whole other level compared to all the other superstars, it’s like Bird and Magic and everyone else right now

    • thunderup says:

      Durant has always had ridiculous skills, but it’s been his focus and drive that’s kicked up a notch this season. He could get hot before, but he needed to be poked the right way before it would happen. It looks like Durant has finally figured out how to turn it on and keep it going a lot more consistently. I know Westbrook got all the flack before, but his energy kept the Thunder going in a lot of games, not Durant. This year it’s been both of them together and it’s awesome to watch.

      The bench is starting to get its head on straight without Harden and Maynor coming back from the ACL injury. Once they really figure it out this team is going to be even scarier. Can’t wait.

      • Florida says:

        Westbrook;s energy is t he one also handing over the games to opponents in last minutes. KD should be the go to guy in last minutes not Westbrook. I am a long time Miami Heat fan, and accept the fact that they could have better chance to beat Miami, if Westbrook played smarter and share the ball with KD.

      • abourne says:

        @ Florida – Westbrook is the energy of this team. When he is going strong the team is at his best. People make too big a deal about his style of play. His stats are all up across the boards and he’s helped bring the Thunder to 21-4. Along with that KD is still dropping 25+ a night. How is he “not sharing the ball”? People keep bringing up his couple playoff games like he is the reason they lost in the Finals. He’s not. Harden is the biggest factor of them not winning their games. Had he shown up like he had in the rest of the playoffs it would have been a different series.

      • abourne says:

        @ Florida – Westbrook is the energy of this team. When he is going strong the team is at his best. People make too big a deal about his style of play. His stats are all up across the boards and he’s helped bring the Thunder to 21-4. Along with that KD is still dropping 25+ a night. How is he “not sharing the ball”? People keep bringing up his couple playoff games like he is the reason they lost in the Finals. He’s not. Harden is the biggest factor of them not winning their games. Had he shown up like he had in the rest of the playoffs it would have been a different series.