MVP-charging KD closes in on MJ’s streak

By Jeff Caplan, NBA.com


VIDEO: Kevin Durant is named the Kia Western Conference Player of the Month for March

HANG TIME SOUTHWEST – It’s kind of understandable why Toronto Raptors guard Greivis Vasquez would compare MVP frontrunner Kevin Durant to Jesus after the Oklahoma City Thunder superstar capped a 51-point, 12-rebound, seven-assist effort with a long-range, game-winning 3-pointer in the final two seconds of double overtime.

Walk on water is about all Durant didn’t do.

Denver Nuggets point guard Ty Lawson, who plays against Durant four times every season as a Northwest Division foe, offers probably a more relatable comparison.

“He’s doing things that haven’t been seen since Michael Jordan,” Lawson told NBA.com.

He’s right. On several fronts this season, Durant is flying in the rare air of His Airness. Take Durant’s stat-stuffer at Toronto on March 21 that so awed Vasquez. No player had reached such totals in a single game since Jordan in 1991-92. Instantly rave reviews flooded the Internet and highlight reels were posted to YouTube for all to be bedazzled by Durant’s array of crossovers, spin moves, floaters and every other move that should be darn-near impossible for a darn-near 7-footer to put down on the floor.

“Coming from where I come from in D.C., all you did was dribble the ball a lot, all these different crossovers, these different moves, so that’s where I kind of learned it from,” Durant would say a week later during a stop in Dallas. “Me being so tall, I got a way from it, I played below the basket up until I got to the league almost, so I had to kind of work on it again and bring it back. I’ve been working on it these last few years and I’m having the confidence to try to pull those moves off…”

Then Durant, so caught up in humility, go figure, got all self-deprecating.

“And most of the time,” he demurred, “I turn it over or I throw the turnover after I crossover, I do something that’s not right.”

Durant is now on the cusp of another Jordan moment. On Jan. 5, with point guard Russell Westbrook little more than a week into his extended absence due to knee surgery, Durant scored 21 points in a breezy 27 minutes in a win against Boston. It remains the last time he’s scored fewer than 25 points in a game. Durant can make it 39 in a row of 25 points or more tonight when the Thunder play a critical game in the chase for the No. 1 seed against the San Antonio Spurs (8 ET, TNT). If he does it, Durant can tie Jordan’s modern-day streak of 40, which he accomplished twice (1986-87 and ’88), on Friday night at Houston (9:30 ET, ESPN).

Before Jordan, a streak of greater length dates back a half-century to Oscar Robertson‘s 47 in 1963-64. Before that, Wilt Chamberlain went an astonishing 106 consecutive games in 1961-62.

But back to doing things that haven’t been done since MJ. Here’s another: Durant, averaging by far a league-best 32.2 ppg (51.2 percent shooting overall, 41.2 percent from 3-point range), 7.6 rpg and 5.7 apg, is on pace to be the first player to average at least 30 points, five rebounds and five assists while shooting 50 percent from the floor since, yep, Jordan in 1991-92.

“He’s starting to make tougher and tougher shots and making it look easy,” Lawson said. “From the 3-point line it looks effortless, post-up game, he’s adding little things to his game. This year he’s adding assists, finding players. Like the stretch when Russell was out, he was playing, I think, out of his mind. He ’s just playing at a really high level.”

When Westbrook was out from just after Christmas through the All-Star break, Durant averaged 35.0 ppg, 7.5 rpg and 6.3 apg while shooting 52.7 percent overall and 39.9 percent from beyond the arc as the focal point of every defense he faced. The Thunder went 20-7 and Durant’s MVP campaign was in full bloom.

“He’s a great player, he does it all, rebounds, gets assists, he scores the ball, he can do whatever he wants on the floor,” Thunder wing Jeremy Lamb said. “Late in games he pulls it out for us, makes clutch shots. Amazing.”

With or without Westbrook, Durant, tied for second in the league with DeMar DeRozan in logging 38.4 mpg, has revealed new ways to make himself an unstoppable force. With less than two weeks to go in the regular season, it’s practically inarguable that he will win his first MVP trophy. If he does, it will be the second time that LeBron James, a four-time winner, will fall just short of becoming the first player to win three consecutive MVP titles since, no, not MJ, but Larry Bird from 1983-86.

And if there’s still a speck of doubt, there is one more no-one’s-done-that-since MJ tidbit. Durant, the Western Conference player of the month four times in the season’s first five months, averaged 34.5 ppg in March. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Durant is the first player to average 33 points or more in three successive months since, you guessed it, Jordan in 1989-90.

So when Vasquez said of Durant, “He’s like Jesus in this league,” maybe he simply expects him to walk on water.

He’s doing everything else.

64 Comments

  1. Real_NBA_GM says:

    Yeah.. I would like to see Blake Griffin get it this year because he has a lot of old guys on his team.

  2. Game Ball says:

    KD is not my MVP…. And I’ve been watching NBA since I was young …. @KD MVP I thought you’re watching NBA… O bet you miss the battle between LBJ and KD… As far as I remember KD shouldn’t get that streak… KD get those 30+ points after LBJ’s nose got broken by Ibaka, yet still manage to slam it on OKC’s best defender… What if LBJ didn’t get injured??? KD’s streak might be shorten…. KD maybe a scorer but still not a complete player like LBJ… Try to watch the game between LBJ and KD so you may have an Idea who’s the real MVP!!!

  3. Jacques Durceille says:

    The only reason why KD is winning it this year is because Lebron slacked off and voter fatigue. This will be good motivation for the next few seasons when Lebron reminds everyone why KD has always been # 2. 3 Trips to the finals, olympic gold has diminished him somewhat and that is fair and expected. But KD only will get the MVP moreso because lebron has slacked off. Enjoy your 15 minutes of KD while it lasts.

  4. larry says:

    KD will win mvp this year, but LeBron and the Heat will win the championship that’s what really matters in the Nba

  5. bd932 says:

    KD is going to win mvp this year but lebron and the heat are going to win the championship.

  6. okc2014 says:

    Kevin Durant would much rather win a championship title with his entire team, than MVP by himself. But he’s still taking it because he knows he’s no longer 2nd anymore. And I will be his best fan watching him rise it in the air. Go Thunder!!

  7. IKE says:

    All of y’all sleep on KD. He deserved the mvp two years ago when it was Heat vs Thunder in the finals. It is time for KD to get his ring and MVP. lebron has star-studded team: D Wade, Bosh, Norris Cole, Ray Allen and about 1000000000 more three point shooters. KD has Westbrook (who is out) and Perkins….no one else is a star player so i think that he carried his team more than Lebron so KD deserves the MVP…….. But it doesnt matter, because when D Rose comes back….. Rose getting the MVPs and at least 3 rings

    • Dee says:

      Really? Really?? Derrick Rose? Really? If Rose ever comes back, and is healthy enough to perform at an NBA level, he will not be on a championship team let alone 3 rings LoL Should Derrick Rose ever get 3 rings, he won’t be the primary option on the team. Derrick Rose SMH unbelievable.

    • Harris says:

      1. Lebron deserved every MVP he won. Lebron was better than KD in the finals and his team won so there is no way Durant would have won Finals MVP.
      2. KD doesn’t have a star-studded team? Wade+Bosh is about the same as Westbrook+Ibaka. The rest of the roster is about equal for both teams.
      3. KD deserves MVP this year but it is because he played well, not because of how good/bad his teammates are.
      4. Rose is too injury-prone at the moment. He has played less games in last 3 years than Wade has played this year.
      5. AT LEAST 3 rings?? Lebron can’t even get 3 rings yet but Rose will? LMAO

  8. topher says:

    I’m a HEAT and LeBron fan but LeBron won’t get his 5th MVP this season.

  9. DT says:

    Oh man. What’s up with you LeBron fans? I think you are 12 year old’s who never saw what NBA was back then when these all time greats have been putting up crazy stats. #Bandwagonnersgonnahate

  10. Allycat says:

    Kd deserves MVP. I hope kd realizes if he was on the right team he would get championships with the scoring titles and mvps. If your team you played for cared about winning championships they wouldn’t have mind the price for a championship team. You guys got in the finals? And your team trades one of your all-star team mates because they cost “too” much? Kd’s team is cheap and is going to end up breaking kd by putting all the pressure on him to make this team great and literally playing him like a work horse. If the okc doesn’t bring in another all star caliber player besides hoggin westbrook, I hope kd signs to an organization that will treat him like a franchise players deserves. A chance to win a ring and is willing to pay for one… Sadly not a lot of organizations are willing to do that, lakers, Knicks, Clippers, Heat, Mavs. The owners have money and they aren’t afraid to spend some for the chance of a ring!

  11. MVP DUEL says:

    Durant Had an Outstanding Season But I’m A James Fan But Gotta Hand it Too Durant It Doesn’t Look Like James Is Bringing His A Game This Season Better Step Up In Playoffs

  12. Facts says:

    Durant has played this season with Russell Westbrook missing 32 games, Kendrick Perkins missing 20 games and Thabo Sefolosha missing 18 games. It is said that LeBron has missed Wade through injury and hasn’t had the back-up he needs but Wade has missed 22 games in the whole season. I know that Durant needs to win a ring/s sooner rather than later but he is also four years younger than LeBron and LeBron also copped a lot of criticism because of his move to Miami; that’s not Durant’s fault. Although LeBron was only trying to better his career and his chances at a title (which I totally respect and agree with), the way in which he dealt with the facade is why he is still scrutinised today. LeBron has played exceptionally over his whole career but Durant’s season has been better and has been more productive as he has averaged more points, more rebounds, more blocks and his team has a better record in a far better conference and division. LeBron deserves all the credit his gets but unless Durant gets injured, averages under 20 for the rest of the season, or loses most games from here onwards, he deserves the MVP title. I am a thunder supporter so this may seem bias but I am just trying to showcase the facts.

  13. cavarionne says:

    KD has been second behind LeBron for three seasons he definitely deserves the MVP this year LeBron can deal with being second for once well since derrick rose of course

  14. bodjee says:

    Lebron James is the MVP because he is the best team player; he evens make player from other teams better. Paul George would probably agree with me and so is Kevin Durant.

  15. NBAsapporo says:

    Lebron is a great player, well deserving of his MVP awards. We must remember one of the reasons why there was a lockout two seasons ago. Players wanted to preserve the right to play where they wanted to. I don’t disagree with that, however, If you look at the roster of the Heat over the past couple of years, it has been filled out with players who used to play for teams who were good but couldn’t get over the hump. Ex. Birdman, and Ray Allen.
    I have become somewhat disenchanted with the NBA because everything is based up on whether or not a team/player has a ring.
    I started watching basketball in the early eighties. I am from OKC and a huge thunder fan. However, if Durant never wins a championship, I thing he will at some at some point. He said, that he wanted to play for one team his whole career. Now that is the way basketball used to be when I started watching. Understand, I am not trying to be critical of the current structure of free agency. Teams are going to try to do the best for their teams. However, When a player decides to jet on his team to be a part of a preconceived super team. This is where I have a problem.
    Cleveland if given a bit more time, could have put some more pieces together. They had already been the finals once and came near a couple years after that. 7 seasons is a bit to wait I know. Durant has been to the finals once and is coming up to that mark with the Thunder. If they don’t win this year do you think he will jet. He has said that he has confidence in Sam Presti to put a winning team on the floor.

  16. Louis says:

    I find it funny how whenever somebody other than LBJ is talked about, someone people’s comments have LBJ in them. Get off his junk. Most of ya’ll are band wagoners that use to be Lakers fans… Pun intended. I find it funny to see all these Heat fans be a few years back there wasn’t that many… KD is playing like the MVP this year point blank period and he is about to accomplish a feat that MJ did, that is impressive. KD should be the MVP this year. He has stepped up with his #2 man out most the season and has his team at a better record when he in fact is in the harder conference. And don’t forget LBJ fans…. The Thunders Strength of schedule is harder than Miami’s. All those fluke East teams, plz…

    • Allycat says:

      Lol!! Totally right! Where ever lebron goes next lets say to the magic… Out of no where there will be a mob of magic fans that pop up! KD is MVP in my books. He gets the Job done and he hasn’t had great teammates like lebron needs( who by the way can’t get it done anymore lol ). Anyways kd is having an epic year and deserves MVP. Sadly if his team goes against the mavs he will probably be a first round exit and will likely not get a ring while on the okc aka the cheap team that trades allstar players away for cheap just so they don’t have to pay a decent check to them… I hope kd leaves okc, they don’t deserve him

  17. Jace says:

    To all of you hating on KD for not having a ring and only doing what Bron has been doing: Stop. He isn’t doing what LBJ has been doing, he’s been doing something much bigger, they aren’t comparing him to LBJ. Durant is being compared to records that Jordan, Wilt, Robinson and the likes hold. These are the all time greats. They aren’t talking about seating him there they are just taking a look at his emergence into the history books. KD is an animal this year, with Westbrook being out he is averaging 36 8 and 6. Those numbers are unreal! Yes, when it’s all said and done he will need rings but that isn’t what this is about…Just because this article isn’t about Lebron doesn’t mean you have to take it personally like it’s an attack on him…Give KD his due on an outstanding season. He’s been the best all year long.

  18. Nope says:

    1v1 in KD vs LeBron, I have to say its the LBJ by far. But who should win MVP this year, I would say KD. I’m pretty sure if LBJ has the same amount of freedom that KD had this year, he’d probably do a better performance than KD.

  19. trilltandon says:

    So lebron gets discredited for everything he’s done for the past 9 years because Kd has accomplished this scoring feat for 3 months. Lets totally make him the best player and not criticize him for coming up short in the playoffs every year. I remember how much lebron was scrutinized and defamed before he had a ring. Kd is the best “SCORER”, Lebron is the best “PLAYER” cause he’s a facilitator, a leader, has defensive prowess and is a lethal scorer. Kd is the beneficiary of the most foul calls i’ve ever seen and it is the reason his scoring numbers are inflated. I’ll tell you this, as long as Lebron is in the league, he’s not letting Kd win anything cause right now he’s chasing greatness. Kd needs to put up 7 or 8 consecutive seasons like this and only then he’ll be in the conversation.

  20. EEDEEYOT says:

    Durant is going to be like Steve Nash when he won 2 MVP’s but no rings. Funny how people criticize Lebron for not getting rings, and now that he has 2 people seem to make KD as if he had rings. LMAO funny NBA Fans getting stirred up by Media.

  21. Nino says:

    I like how people are bandwagoners. 5 years ago I never heard of Miani Heat fans. Now it seems like they are everywhere. As far a s KD goes,for years he has been the best player in the the league, but he plays in a small market team, that s the only reason why he doesn’t get the credit he deserves. The eastern conference is weak. Lebrick has to play teams like the bucks, bobcats, 76ers, detroit pistons, boston, Without lebrick the heat will still be at top three team in the east. Now lets remove KD from OKC, I bet they the wouldnt even be in the numbe 10th spot. I mean they do have to play with teams like the Spurs, Clippers, Suns, Worriors, Grizzlies, Rockets, Mavericks, and the list goes on! I f KD was in the East he would probably be averaging 50 points a game…lol

  22. ill aka the Frenchy says:

    KD is a great scorer we all know that. He keeps improving his game and not only as a scoring machine. But in the same time
    he is just doing what LBJ has been doing during those past 9 or 10 years. I definitely agree with team3peat let’s not change the standard Without a ring at the end of your career you just a very good player among so many else before and after you.
    People and medias especially have been so critical with LBJ at the time he was ringless. Let’s be as critical with KD. . Nothing personal just wanna be fair. But sure it’s so good for the game and us fans having kids on the floor like those 2 guys!

  23. Shaqattack says:

    I’m a fan of LeBron and I must say KD deserves to win the MVP, hands down. He is playing out of his mind. Will be the face of NBA for years to come.

  24. syed says:

    lol @ people hating on lebron, lebron is the greatest basketball player in the world ( im a huge lakers fan ) but whats real is real lmfao.

  25. 4xPlusMvpsPlusRings+Final Mvps says:

    Not taking anything away from KD stellar season .. If I had to vote it would be a split this year. I think Lj has worked the hardest to get Heat in winning position. Where you can seat KD for few minutes and the Thunder still maintains a lead, you cant do that with Miami. I have seen large leads vanished as soon as Lj stepped out for a breather.and let’s not get Carried over too much, KD is a scorer that breathes and live to shoot first, Lj has been playing at both ends of the floor for years now.If Lj were a shooter minded like KD he would put bigger number.

  26. Team3peat says:

    Now let’s see whow this double standard plays itself out. Before LJ won his championships everyone was In his case despite having multiple Mvps.. You were saying Mvps mean nothing without rings. NOW LETS NOT CHANGE THE STANDARD TO FIT KD just bc he starts doing what Lj has done for years now.

  27. GREAT ARTICLE Great comments. Ever1 here knows something

  28. I think LBJ is Tired of playing with a team that depends to heavily on him. No real consistent help on that team for LBJ.
    Bosh maybe Birdman N Cole and Charmers, still the team is #1 in the conference. LBJ is a beast. Durant is more like ah smooth angel. both great. NBA is in good hands. Kobe Who?LOL. just kiddin

  29. BigDawg says:

    Remember this too… KD spent many games on the bench in the fourth quarter due to blow-outs.

  30. Jeremy says:

    KD’s MVP will hopefully be enough to give LBJ the fire he needs for a 3rd ring/finals mvp! Kinda like when Jordan lost MVP to Malone in 97 or 98. I love all of this competition!

  31. LBJ is my player but Durant is for sure the MVP right now unlike when they gave one of Jordan’s to Karl Marlone as a gift. I think Durant has a more dependable team than LBJ but Durant surly has been more consistent this season. LBJ has a much bigger role to his team and the NBA. THEY ARE BOTH GREAT but NOT YET NO WHERE IN JORDAN’S SHOE

  32. Koji Cavuto says:

    It’s all just a media hype. That’s all into it! What about longevity and legacy? You cannot always compare someone to MJ. We ain’t seen nothin’ yet! #SPURSGOINGFOR 20

  33. overTHERE says:

    KD is a better three point shooter, but LBJ would shatter KDs skin and bones on athletic strong attack in the paint

  34. RootandOffspring says:

    KD(Kill Dem). What more an you say, he is the total package and deserves the MVP. Kill(K) Dem(D)…

  35. Tonhenx says:

    KD won’t win a ring until Westbrook is his “second” and OKC gets another legit big man (next to Ibaka) and a decent bench… With this roster he can put up amazing Jordan-like numbers all playoff long but he can’t play 40+ minutes in each and every game of the western conference playoffs. In the 1st round they can either face the Mavs or even worse the Suns who are the only other team in the league that can run for 48 minutes or the Grizzlies who can destroy anyone physically, any of these teams can wear you down enough for the 2nd round where probably the bloodthirsty Clippers will stand in the way who are extremely deep not like OKC. After that facing the Spurs machine… “I got a bad feeling about this.” I like this guy very much, but either he needs to go play elsewhere or OKC needs to build a really good supporting staff next to him!!

  36. John says:

    How is Lebron James top 5 in nba history when he is not a top 5 player in today’s game.

    Top 5 current nba players
    1) Tim Duncan
    2) Kobe Bryant
    3) Kevin Durant
    4) Carmello Anthony
    5) Kevin Love

  37. joe says:

    Best player in the past 20 years.

  38. Aleksa says:

    hahahahahah you forgot the Future hall of fame Noris Cole :P

  39. Rhedz says:

    Kd got alot of catching up to do to be in Lbjs air…He’s almost there with a little time, improvement he will be Lbjs succesor..As kobe was to Lbj and Mj as to Kobe.

    Lebron is at his prime and still got some room for growth and improvement…But Kd to be honest..Im not a fan or anything got way more room for improvement and growth than Lbj…Its just amazing to see this 2 go head to head…Wish Melo could step up abit..But yeah…Same comment ges to Blake Griffin who is still young…

  40. marlon green says:

    KD is doing some big things. At first I thought the streak of 25 points a game wasn’t a big deal. But considering the scorers before him that didn’t do that. I cant believe Kobe hasn’t got in on that streak and T-mac and AI. So to be up there with WIlt, Oscar and MJ is some pretty good company. Durant will win MVP, they tried to make it close just because Lebron got hot for 2 weeks but KD has been consistent ALL YEAR LONG. And to be in first or second place in that tough western conference pretty much all season without Westbrook is pretty amazing.

  41. Kobe Durant says:

    Who Loves LBJ so much…..are u dreaming? Durant is the real all around player not using force but wit in the basketball court. This year MVP will be Kevin Durant…..If not he has been cheated again!

  42. HYPE says:

    Durant’s close to Jordan’s streak of 40 straight 25+ point games.
    Then this little line caught me -

    ….Which he accomplished twice.

    Amazing.

  43. JD says:

    LBJ will still be the MVP ‘coz NBA loves him soooo much that even KD deserves the award they’ll(NBA) make more money if LBJ is the MVP.

    • Another Heat Fan says:

      LBJ won his MVPs because he deserved them.
      He put up ridiculous stats that made him the obvious choice, and it wasn’t just stats if you watch the game you can see that he IS doing everything on offense and defense to help his team win, unselfishly. He’s able to play every position, making his game very versatile and almost impossible to counter.

      Durant didn’t deserve the MVP before, so he was never really robbed.

      That said, this year it’s gonna be all Durant. It’s unanimous, and not just because someone wrote this article. If you look at his stats, and you watch him play, and you look at his team’s record, he IS the best player in basketball this season. Everything I said above about what Lebron did to earn his MVPs, Durant has done as well this season. He dominated this year, and he deserves it, doesn’t mean Lebron didn’t deserve his MVPs before.

      And to those of you guys thinking the league only give it to Lebron just because he’s Lebron, just lol. Durant was the best player in basketball this year, even a Lebron fan like me will not dispute it, and he will rightfully win the MVP award just like Lebron rightfully won his in the past. Stop hating on greatness.

      TL DR: Durant will win MVP, he deserves it this year. Lebron deserves his past MVPs.

    • U a foo says:

      The nba doesn’t pick the mvps you ignorant fool

  44. Paul says:

    It’s scary to think that he’s at an MVP level right now, and he still isn’t in his prime! This kid has huge talent, however he needs rings to create his legacy.

  45. theCHI2014 says:

    If KD continues to improve at this type of rate, Lebron won’t have many years as king of the basketball world

  46. okc bandwagones sinse 2011 says:

    wow i knew all these stats
    but i didnt know it was been so long since some 1 did this shizz
    so hes having the best season of anyone the last 20 years Lol
    i know thats problably not true so dont write me 30 replys

  47. Den says:

    32.2 ppg (51.2 percent shooting overall, 41.2 percent from 3-point range), 7.6 rpg and 5.7 apg

    Another thing though, check the basketball reference, no body in NBA history has averaged 30+ points while shooting 50% FG and 40% 3-point-FG

  48. amitpal says:

    MVP are nice but rings are even better. Lets go durant lets get that first of many rings.

  49. Stevie Killingsworth says:

    Only reason Lebron wins the MVP award is because the Heat Nation is bigger. Overall in my opinion Durant is a better ball player. Lebron is just more explosive.

  50. lbj II says:

    Scoring 25+ points in 38 straight +++ games wont give Durant his first ring. He needs to play with our “King” LeBron we will trade James Jones and Future hall of fame Shane Battier!

  51. dd def says:

    i hate durant… when my team is playing him, hahaha.

  52. jumps says:

    Loved this.

  53. JM says:

    Best scorer in the league… has a lot of room to grow.

    • KD MVP says:

      KD is the MVP hands down. If you disagree, you have not been watching NBA, period.

      I see a lot of people complaining that Lbj is not getting enough help, let me tell ya, Miami heat has won 4 out of 6 games when lebron is not playing. That tells you right there that Miami is really the best team in the league and lebron is lucky enough to be on that bandwagon. Otherwise we would probably still be ringless by now.