Thunder: Durant played his greatest game
The Thunder beat the Heat for many reasons. Kendrick Perkins’ defensive mentality and presence. The new and improved Serge Ibaka. Nick Collison, Nazr Mohammed and Thabo Sefolosha showing the Heat how role players are supposed to fit in. James Harden continuing a late-season campaign for sixth man of the year.
But here’s the No. 1 reason. Kevin Durant played the best game of his NBA career.
Durant was sensational: 29 points, 7 rebounds, a season-high-matching six assists. Durant didn’t even get much help from his favorite shot, a free throw. Durant got just four foul shots, two of them off technical fouls.
Yet in a game in which he was largely matched one-on-one with LeBron James, Durant thrived. His 29 points came on 12-of-21 shooting. ESPN stats show that Durant was 10-of-15 shooting when guarded by LeBron. Meanwhile, Durant’s defense was excellent against LeBron, who finished with 21 points on 8-of-21 shooting.
Durant looked as dominant as he did those 37-point games in Stillwater (triple overtime loss at OSU) and the Big 12 title game at the Ford Center (overtime loss to Kansas), except instead of going against Mario Boggan and Brandon Rush, Durant on Wednesday night battled LeBron.
Durant seemed confident on his jumper and savvy on his drives. Two huge players were his baseline dashes, sans the ball, which led to quick tosses from Russell Westbrook for dunks. That made the Heat, notably LeBron, be wary of Durant’s cuts and gave him shooting room on the perimeter. Even better, Durant took care of the ball. One turnover in virtually 40 minutes of play.
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