Analyzing Durant’s Free Throw Binge

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HANG TIME SOUTHWEST – Kevin Durant is binging at the free throw line.

The Oklahoma City Thunder superstar has scored 89 points in the last two games and 41 — 46.1 percent — have come uncontested from 15 feet away. He’s taken 42 free throws in his last 99 minutes played, and all on the road where it’s supposedly tougher to get calls.

After setting a career-best mark by making all 21 free throw attempts in an overtime win at Dallas on Friday, Durant went 20-for-21 in an overtime loss Sunday at Denver. The one miss was costly, giving OKC just a one-point lead with 1:44 to go in the OT. The lead disappeared for good on Denver’s next possession.

Dallas’ Shawn Marion, who typically guards Durant more than any other Mavs player, was so irked by his opponent’s constant march to the foul line that it prompted him afterward to say it’s “hard to beat anybody when you’re playing five-on-eight,” a not-to-subtle suggestion that the three referees were siding with the Thunder. The league fined Marion $25,000 on Sunday.

Durant ranks second in the league with 384 free throw attempts (9.4 per game) at the official halfway mark of the season. He trails only Houston Rockets guard and former teammate James Harden, who has 402 attempts in 41 games for a league-best 9.8 attempts per game. Dwight Howard, third in total attempts (361 in 37 games), is just fractions behind Harden in per-game attempts at 9.76.

Unlike Howard, a 50.4-percent free throw shooter this season, Durant cashes in most of his attempts. He ranks third in the league at 90.9 percent behind teammate Kevin Martin (91.6) and Sacramento’s Jimmer Fredette (91.4).

A whopping 28.9 percent of Durant’s total points this season have come at the stripe. Among the game’s top-five scorers, only No. 5 Harden (25.8 ppg) gets more of his points (32.3 percent) at the free throw line than Durant, who sits at No. 2 in scoring (29.5 ppg) and is closing fast on leader Kobe Bryant (29.6 ppg), who gets 22.4 percent of his points at the foul line.

No. 3 Carmelo Anthony (29.2 ppg) earns 22.1 percent of his points at the free throw line, while LeBron James (26.3 ppg) gets just 17.7 percent.

Sunday marked the third time this season that Durant has attempted 21 free throws in a game (he went 19-for-21 on Nov. 21 against the Clippers). The last two games marked the fifth time this season that he’s had back-to-back games with double-figure free throw attempts and he’s attempted at least 10 free throws in a game 17 times this season.

Still, Durant would need many more games of 20-plus free throw attempts to get anywhere near the NBA record for most attempts in a season. Wilt Chamberlain holds down the top five spots in that category with a seemingly impossible-to-top, all-time best of 1,363 free throw attempts in 80 games during the 1961-62 season.

Durant is on pace for 768 free throw attempts, which would still be a good ways off from his career-best of 840 attempts in the 2009-10 season, and would only tie Kobe’s 2006-07 season total for 94th best all-time.

70 Comments

  1. googergieger says:

    Looks like the league sent out a memo that if OKC looks like they’ll win easy, to give the other team all the calls. Though really the refs are being more or less “fair”. Except whoever is guarding Griffin in which case automatic foul on them. Still this doesn’t change the fact that more often than not this year, teams like The Clips, OKC, and Miami are going to be playing with a different set of rules. Where touch fouls only exist when they are being guarded and traveling and three seconds don’t exist for them.

  2. aghhhh scoring champ 3 times in a row? says:

    i think people forget when people drive no matter who they are and they get double teamed thyre more likely to be fouled…. but lets just pick a handful of bad calls in the last three years and make a case he gets more calls…. good work haters * hi fives *

    • googergieger says:

      When Durant and Westbrook take more free throws than the team that leads the league in attacking the paint? And attacked the paint more than double the times The Thunder did? Get da eff outta here.

  3. A says:

    remember last year when LeBron fouled Kevin Durant at the end of game 2 and it wasnt called and Miami went on to win the series? i think he fouled Westbrook on the rebound too!

  4. Ian says:

    You are all fools for arguing over something that has no real value at the end of life. I am a fool for actually reading some of your comments.

  5. KD is better than lbj & kobe combined!!!

  6. NBA fanatic (Filipino) says:

    The refs are not fair in making a call. The best example for that is “LBJ”. There are a lot of games he played especially this season that he obviously fouled by a player but he didn’t get a call. and take note, some of those are a clearly foul especially when he drives into the basket.

  7. earl manigaut says:

    kobe greatest ballhog of all time

    • Joshua Greenfarb says:

      I heard Kobe is going to “tweet” while watching a replay of some game when he scored 81 points.

      That is hilarious! Kobe has horrible work ethic! Your team is struggling and you’re going to waste time watching some prehistoric game????? He needs to spend that time trying to improve his team, BUT I guess Kobe Bryant has officially given up. He gives up. He gave up. He tried, and he Gave Up.

      I love this game.

  8. HeatKingsofEast says:

    wtf! how can a losing game be a best performance of a player? isn’t it required that the player carried his team to a win that’s why it is a best performance of the season? lmfao! ooops. wait! lakers have few wins, that why they picked a losing game? ahahhaha! don’t know if this is nba writers logic or just playing safe. rofl! hahahahaha

  9. Herr says:

    When have the Thunder NOT received superstar calls? Durant has a good attitude for being a good player, something rare in this league. Thus, the NBA wants to market him as much as possible. The Thunder win their close games simply because the refs give them the charity stripe.

    Thunder aren’t a playoff team and Durant is hardly a superstar.

    • Joshua Greenfarb says:

      Nah, teams are trying to be more physical with Durant. Try to stay close to him because he’s most dangerous when he’s wide open or when he takes it in the paint. If Durant gets loose, players are probably instructed to make him earn it at the line.

      You have 6 fouls; don’t be afraid to use ‘em!

  10. nastynate says:

    man i saw that Okc and Mavs game and reading shawn’s comment thats so true it’s hard to beat 5 players on the court plus three more on the sidelines (refs). Bad thing about this is this ain’t the first time this was mention KG of boston said the same of KD in a loss about 2-3 seasons ago. And you would think that if he’s getting the little touc fouls called why was not getting half those calls in the finals against MIA

    • Joshua Greenfarb says:

      Nah, teams are trying to be more physical with Durant. Try to stay close to him because he’s most dangerous when he’s wide open or when he takes it in the paint. If Durant gets loose, players are probably instructed to make him earn it at the line.

      You have 6 fouls; don’t be afraid to use ‘em!

  11. NBA PLEASE BE FAIR says:

    Shawn Marion is right. Why fine a player when his statement is a fact? Ooops!

    Try to look at KD and Harden when they drive, they always have that kinda flop/jerky thing when they initiate that super little contact and even with fair contact in the body, they always do that, they get foul calls like 70-80% of those bumps.

    I admit it James Harden is one of the best actors in the NBA. KD wont be far apart.

  12. wade's mother says:

    lol he be getting more calls then the whole raptors team combined.

  13. Yanni says:

    People don’t seem to understand, the last few games Durant hasn’t shot the ball well from the field so instead he is getting his moneys worth at the free throw line. Great players make adjustments.

  14. Rich says:

    If you have a chance to watch the replay against the Mavs, Durant numerous times was shaking his head and shrugging his shoulders when he was fouled taking a jump shot – Even was he in a way kinda surprised with the calls ! But of course he wouldn’t mind.

  15. jerikobe says:

    all i know is ,that westbrook is the brother of donald duck

    • Joshua Greenfarb says:

      Donald Duck is kewl. I kind of miss those Scrooge Mcduck cartoons. How did that jingle go?

      DUCK TALES!! WHOOHOO!! d-d-d-danger MOST BEHIND YOU! There’s a stranger! OUT TO FIND YOU! What to do? Just grab onto some DUCK TALES! WHOOOHOOO!!

      Bring back Duck Tales and Gummy Bears and Talespin!!!

      ;-D

  16. gsw says:

    To direct hatred towards Durant is pretty messed up considering he’s such a soft-spoken guy who is always first to criticize his game in interviews. It must be because he’s an American, and hating successful American NBA players is fashionable (even by other Americans). This country is so screwed up.

    • AJ Mills says:

      Who’s hating? I’m sure KD is a perfectly nice young man … who gets a lot of unfair calls in his favor.

  17. BallFann says:

    The fact that Durant has been getting to the line considerably more often then even LeBron seems a little odd considering how much LeBron attacks the rim but still he’s easily the 2nd best player in the league and deserves props for his excellent FT shooting but those two games were poorly officiated and I think most people can agree on that. Either way it will balance out.

  18. wes says:

    funny how people react to lame touch fouls when the other party is not kobe or the lakers…

  19. Harper says:

    I used to enjoy watching games but it is becoming more and more obvious that the league is fixed. This just adds to the evidence and I don’t think it was a good marketing move to produce a story that suggests that “Hey! Durant seems to be getting a lot of foul calls in his favour.” It comes down to who the NBA wants to be the face of the league.
    Most of the clear offs that guys like James and Durant get away with would be called in most high school and college games (except D1 where certain schools get the calls based on how well their coach or program is known). Sad sad day for basketball.

    • Joshua Greenfarb says:

      Relax, it’s a game. Games are “supposed” to be fun. You’re going to have a heart attack, worrying so much.

      Now that the Lakers are no longer playoff-worthy (in fact, they are one of the worst teams in the NBA), we no longer have to worry about games being fixed in Laker favor. It won’t make a difference for Lakers to cheat now; that’s how bad their team is.

      Like that 2002 playoff game or series that was fixed due to that referee (forgot his name). Between the Sacramento Kings and L.A. Lakers.

      Finally, we have a fair NBA. With the Lakers out of the picture, fairness and equality are here forever. The Lakers’ cheating ways are over. Now, we get to enjoy watching fair NBA games. Games called the same both ways by objective refs.

  20. theBEVERAGE says:

    Lets just remember that ANY fan who isn’t from Oklahoma but claims OKC as their number one favorite team is
    A BANDWAGON FAN!!!!!!!

    Or did you grow up as a kid watching the vintage OKC lineups featuring players like “bumble-bee” Watson and Thomas “BigMac” Mccalister?

    Oh wait… those players never existed… just like OKC fans before they were the big dogs in the western conference.

    • Xepher says:

      So, anyone that dosen’t live in the city in which the team plays in is a bandwagon fan? What about others that don’t have a team in their area? What about fans that just started watching the NBA?

    • Joshua Greenfarb says:

      It’s the same franchise that moved from Seattle. Just a different city, different team name, different-colored uniforms.

      It’s Seattle Sonics / OKC Thunder.

      Until Seattle gets another NBA team, it will remain this way. Durant and Westbrook were actually part of the transition from Seattle.

      So, take your obsession with bees and bigmacs and shove ‘em up your butt. Go to McDonalds if you want a Big Mac. :-D

    • Joshua Greenfarb says:

      Let’s move the Lakers to Kansas City or Las Vegas so those cities can have a pro NBA team.

      How come L.A. gets to have 2 NBA teams (that play in the same arena).

      That stinks.

      If there really are “bandwagon fans,” blame L.A.
      ;-)

  21. Isaaac says:

    memories* haha

  22. Isaaac says:

    it makes you wonder how good momories are in Dallas…eh Dirk?

  23. KOBE!!! says:

    Durant is over rated its obvious that metta world peace is the best in the league ..cmon people get with the times

  24. frantasy says:

    i think last night was just a poorly officiated game. a lot of non-calls and a bunch of unnecessary calls. but i think the no calls and bad calls evened out in the end

  25. bobby says:

    Got to hate on the refs all the time!

  26. Chris Bosh's Neck says:

    Durant goes to the line not because he is a marketing icon, but because that is what KD does. OKC has the 2nd smallest market, and the only place you will find Thunder gear, is in Oklahoma

  27. W/E says:

    All those soft non existent fouls created by offensive players from bumping on other players are just LAME, refs shouldnt even call most of them and let the game play on…the most frustrating thing is when they dont call a real hard foul and they call those lame soft touch ” fouls”, btw the officiating last night in the OKC vs Denver was beyond horrible, makes u wonder.

  28. Grahamatron says:

    i like how earlier this year people were commenting that KD doesnt drive and get to the line enough. now he gets to the line too much…

  29. gonzostar says:

    the nba is poorly offiiciated i mean if durant can get 21 free throws against dallas, and denver then then he most certainly should get 21 free throws angainst miami because there way more aggressive and physical, & less disciplined on defense than dallas, & denver! miami also gets away with a lot of moving screens especially joel anthony, & haslem.

  30. Bob Hills says:

    Macky,
    KOBE TREATMENT! GOA AND WATCH KOBE, THE GREATEST BBALL PLAYER THE WROLD HAS EVER KNOWN. HE DOES NOT HAVE AWFUL JUMPERS AND THE REFS DO NOT BAIL HIM OUT! U SIR, KNOW NOTHING

  31. googergieger says:

    It’s like the writer wants to comment on some clear cheating but doesn’t want to get fired doing it. Denver attacks the paint more than any other team in the league. Durant and Westbrook had more free throws than them last night. Thunder are a known jump shooting team. Heck will Westbrook get fined or suspended for getting involved in arena entertainment or taunting fans last night? Nope. Because the NBA protects their manufactured stars.

    • sirsparhawk says:

      Lol he is jealous of durant and westbrook. Sorry but they are better than any1 you like, get over it.

    • dattebayo says:

      Hey, you watch a lot of Nugget games. Do you think Kenneth Faried will be an allstar reserve? I think he should be, but I doubt that all the coaches will recognize him.

      They called a lot of moving screens in the OKC@DEN game, but they were consistent throughout the entire game (consistent as in every call was questionable :)). There were a few HoF calls for KD and WB though, that neither Lawson nor Faried got, I guess you have to live with that (they don’t get these calls consistently in every game, right??). The Westbrook goaltends on Rocky were hilarious though, I don’t think he should be fined for that. The fans got a kick out of it, too. They booed him the rest of the game.

      • googergieger says:

        I don’t think he will be. Him or Gallo could be all stars, but probably more deserving canidates this year. They’ve been hurt by having a few bad performances thanks to Karl’s magic eight ball line ups and rotations. Not to mention unfair foul trouble. Still Faried is a future team leader and a future all star. In two years time probably. Though we could use a guy or two that plays angry and with some attitude. Gallo is that guy, but Karl wants to make Ty and Dre those guys. Even though those two are so laid back and nice.

        The problem with the goal tends were, from a family fun perspective. You kind of deprive the kids the chance to root for the Mascot hitting a shot and getting a stupid little freebie. On top of which he also went out of his way to curse at and taunt fans that were in the first rows.

        Also again, considering Denver attacks the paint more than any other team in the league, no fair reason for Durant and Westbrook getting to the line more than the entire Denver team.

    • AJ Mills says:

      You’re absolutely right–with these teams’ respective styles of play, no way should the free throws have been so lopsided. The only reason I read this post was because I was hoping someone would finally mention the elephant in the room. Guess I’m going to have to keep waiting.

    • Joshua Greenfarb says:

      Yah, but in that game, Denver scored a lot more points in the paint than the Thunder. Correct??? Credit the Thunder for defending while playing as straight-up as they can (defend without fouling a lot). I saw that game and the Thunder attacked the paint just as much as Denver; Denver just fouled more which is why they scored a lot more points in the paint overall in that OT game.

      There wasn’t cheating at all. There were a few questionable calls that favored both sides by the time the game was over in OT. The refs tried to call it the same both ways. I watched that whole game; that’s why I know.

      I thought it was hilarious that Westbrook intercepted the mascot’s shot twice during timeouts. Then, the Denver mascot started pointing and taunting Westbrook, and the fans even got into it and started booing Westbrook. The Thunder are the funnest team to watch!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Joshua Greenfarb says:

        The Nuggets’ mascot thinks he can make halfcourt shots over his head with his back turned toward the basket????

        That’s hilarious in it of itself.

        It’s all in good fun.

        Westbrook was like, “Gimme that! Get that out of here!”

      • googergieger says:

        That is factually incorrect. Denver scored thirty more paint points and attempted more than double. Thunder don’t defend without fouling, they just aren’t called for them. Most of Thunder free throws came from penalty situation and touch fouls. You can literally call touch fouls every time you are down the court. There is always contact. There is no rational explanation for Westbrook and Durant getting more free throws than the entire Denver team. Especially the way both teams play. End of.

  32. Macky says:

    MJ treatment? Michael used to get hacked going to the basket. Go watch the games. It’s more like the Kobe treatment. Jump shooters getting bailed out on their awful jumpers by a whistle.

  33. Max says:

    OKC vs Den. last night? This loss, probably did world’s of good for the OKC. That GREAT Team, needs much “HOT AIR” taken out. Always, yapping at each and ever call the officials make. Terrible ” I AM GREAT body language! Does R. WESTBROOK ever stop yapping at officials? Why has he not been ejected? He needs to be benched and again win without him, like last year in Denver. Best way to teach a player, that it takes 5 players to make a BB team, and not just one GREAT HOT SHOT! One injury and who would even remember Westbrook for long? He needs to read this article. Anyone can be at the top one day and then can find themself at the bottom or worse out the door. Take heed Westbrook/Durant!!Inmaturity/ YES! But need to NOT only be GREAT, but be SMART!

  34. kevin nicholls INDIANAPOLIS says:

    Wettest jumper ever

  35. […] Nuggets and Oklahoma City Thunder ran into an overtime conflict, we learned a bit more …Breaking Down Durant's Free Throw BingeNBA.com (blog)NBA roundup: Nuggets upend Thunder in overtime, 121-118Los Angeles TimesNBA Game […]

  36. Chester says:

    of course, hes getting the MJ treatment from the refs. if only the refs could be impartial and fair with every call, oh well, like most times in this world, the most famous people with the most money get away with things more than the average person. i feel sorry for the minimum wage nba players who get a stiff deal

  37. steppx says:

    honestly, the author of this doesnt even entertain the idea that Durant GETS calls because he is a marketing icon for the league. We’ve seen this before………stars getting calls. Jeez……..why are sports writers such marks.?

    • sirsparhawk says:

      No, its because he is amazing and better than his opponents, quit making excuses for him torching ur favorite team.

      • Patrick says:

        Well, tha fact is Kevin Durant gets a lot of star calls. Game at Denver was terrible. For example, KD accidentally hit Andre Iguodala with the elbow, and then refs called foul on iggy for that.. come on.. there was much more, thats why KD shot so many ft’s . OKC should change their name to Oklahoma City Starcalls

      • theBEVERAGE says:

        Lets just remember that ANY fan who isn’t from Oklahoma but claims OKC as their number one favorite team is
        A BANDWAGON FAN!!!!!!!

        Or did you grow up as a kid watching the vintage OKC lineups featuring players like “bumble-bee” Watson and Thomas “BigMac” Mccalister?

        Oh wait… those players never existed… just like OKC fans before they were the big dogs in the western conference.

      • Joshua Greenfarb says:

        @Patrick
        Wow, Denver won that game in OT. And you’re still complaining about officiating? Whatever.

    • James says:

      In 4 years, Duran will become a Lakers. He will get numerous endorsements. He will be the second richest NBA player of all time. Richest? MJ

      • you make me laugh says:

        He will become a Lakers..?? pretty sure he already has numerous endorsements…. their are 54 guys in NBA history who have earnt more money in playing contacts then MJ. MJ has earnt all of his money from his companies.