HANG TIME SOUTHWEST — In an Old West, high noon Sunday showdown, Carmelo Anthony will take dead aim at Kevin Durant‘s three consecutive scoring titles.
The New York Knicks are in Oklahoma City today (1 p.m. ET, ABC) to take on the Thunder. Both teams have important agendas. The Knicks (49-26), riding an 11-game win streak, are trying to hold onto the East’s No. 2 seed and OKC (56-20), 33-5 at home, wants to solidify the top spot in the West.
The juicier, made-for-TV plot line, however, is the individual battle between two of the game’s great gunslingers: KD and Melo. They’re locked in an incredibly close race for the league’s scoring title by less than a tenth-of-a-point separating the two All-Stars. KD’s lead has slowly been clipped in recent weeks with Melo’s massive upswing highlighted by the past three games as he’s put up 50, 40 and 41 points.
Durant needed a 34-point effort in a big road win Friday at Indiana to keep his lead. At this moment, Durant leads the league at 28.4 ppg. Melo is at 28.3 — when taken the extra digit, it’s really 28.37 to 28.32.
No player has won four consecutive scoring titles since Michael Jordan rattled off seven in a row from 1986-93. Yet Durant,who has played 14 more games than Anthony this season and has been by far the more efficient scorer, doesn’t seem to be all that interested in earning No. 4 in just his sixth season in the league.
“He can have it,” Durant said Thursday when asked about the scoring title and Sunday’s head-to-head game with Anthony. Durant went so far as to say he’s rooting for Anthony.
After all, for all the amazing scoring games Melo has put together over his 10-year career, he’s never won the league scoring title.
“I really wanted my first one,” Durant said.
With the way Anthony’s been lighting up the league, it certainly would appear that he wants his first one, too.