Durant’s Streak Ends, Thunder Still Good


VIDEO: Thunder rout Nets for 10th straight win

BROOKLYN – Kevin Durant‘s streak of 12 straight games of scoring 30 or more points came to an end on Friday, because his team is just too good. Durant scored 26 points on just 12 shots in the first three quarters, but sat the entire fourth of a 120-95 blowout of the Brooklyn Nets.

And maybe the thing that has gone under the radar — as Durant has been shooting the lights out and establishing himself as the MVP favorite — is that the Oklahoma City Thunder are the best team in basketball right now.

Friday’s rout — in which Brooklyn set an NBA record for fewest rebounds (17) in a game — was OKC’s 10th straight win. It’s been a hard earned streak that has included wins over Houston (on the road), Golden State, Portland, San Antonio (on the road), Miami (on the road) and Brooklyn (on the road), who had the league’s best January record entering Friday.

They’ve absorbed Russell Westbrook‘s latest setback and have played their best ball of the season. Their All-Star point guard has played just 25 of their 48 games and they hold the best record in the NBA at 38-10. They’re one of two teams that rank in the top five in both offensive and defensive efficiency.

You don’t do that behind the performance of just one guy. Yes, Durant has played better than anybody in the league this season. But the Thunder have proven to be much deeper than anyone could have predicted, with Perry Jones being the latest young reserve to make the most of an opportunity to play.

Throughout the night on Friday, the Nets tried to get the ball out of Durant’s hands, doubling him almost every time he caught the ball, as they did late in their Jan. 2 win in Oklahoma City. The plan mostly worked, but it just allowed one of Durant’s teammates to make a play.

“We knew what they were going to do in terms of doubling on the catch,” Durant said, “and we were moving the ball quick, and guys were knocking down shots.”

Durant tallied seven assists as five of his teammates scored in double figures. Serge Ibaka shot a perfect 12-for-12 from the field.

“Durant has been the guy getting the headlines,” Paul Pierce said, “but if you look across during the winning streak, they’ve had a number of guys step up.

“That’s just a great player making his other teammates better.”

So, in a game in which he shot a mere 10-for-12 and had Barclays Center buzzing from the opening minute, Durant’s streak came to an end. He’s fine with that.

“Man, I’m glad that’s over with,” he said. “I’d much rather take the win. That’s my type of game, just playing how the game is played. If they double, make the pass. Just play easy. I wasn’t trying to force anything. That streak was good while it lasted, but that was the least of my concerns.”

“If he cared about the streak,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks joked, “he should’ve made those two shots.”

Thunder record and efficiency

Timeframe W L OffRtg Rank DefRtg Rank NetRtg Rank
10-game winning streak (since 1/16) 10 0 116.2 1 103.4 9 +12.9 1
Since Westbrook surgery (12/27) 15 5 110.0 4 101.2 7 +8.8 1
Season 38 10 108.0 4 99.2 3 +8.8 1

OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions
DefRtg = Points allowed per 100 possessions
NetRtg = Point differential per 100 possessions

19 Comments

  1. squala96 says:

    Despite Durant’s awesome streak, the Thunder has once again fallen to the Wizards, for reasons no one can understand. It has happened at least once per season for at least three years now.

  2. endorsebug says:

    The streak would not be as important if Durant got injured in the 4th Quarter. Fact of the matter is that his numbers will go down agian when Westbrook returns.

  3. jamyang says:

    KD could over 30 pts but someone stoped his way,

  4. Jintan says:

    Can we discriminate Miami fans from posting here? This post is about OKC, not Miami.

  5. lol says:

    Don’t think he has the MVP in stock but Okay. I mean KD is good and he has been amazing so far but hey… There are plenty other good players who can win the MVP.

  6. tim thurow says:

    so proud for Durant and the team stepping up without the absence of Westbrook

  7. sirsparhawk says:

    I knew he wasnt going to hit 30 because of how bad they were blowing out the scrub nets. Sad but he could have done it easily if he played in the 4th.

  8. ro says:

    I can already see Thunder vs Pacers in the finals.

  9. omni says:

    KD is a lock for mvp, but they aint winning it all this year

  10. OKC says:

    Remember all those people predicting us finishing outside the top 4 seed?

    • Ben says:

      I remember rubbishing them. I tried to do a comparison on a player by player basis with the 2011 team that lost in the finals to prove this team was better. People wouldn’t listen to me. Mind you, I guess I was one of those who was saying keep Ibaka, trade Harden too. It’s nice to have been vindicated!

  11. Gabriel MildS2ven says:

    Unless the Thunder have some sort of dramatic slide in the next 2 months, he has the MVP locked.

  12. okc2014 says:

    I’m not surprised, because I knew it would happen eventually: Kevin Durant is showing FULL characteristics of an MVP: someone who is not just great himself, but who can elevate his teammates to be the best they can be. WOW. It’s amazing how Lamb, Stevens, Jones, Jackson, Ibaka, Fisher, and even Collins have all stepped up their games. Kevin Durant is showing consistent signs of encouragement and some patience too. It’s almost as if they could never have received this opportunity to grow, had Westbrook not gotten injured….Go Thunder!!!! OKC2014!!