OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Kevin Durant drained three 3-pointers in 75 seconds. And when the crowd wanted even more, the NBA's leading scorer responded.
Durant poured in a career-high 54 points in an incredibly efficient performance, helping the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Golden State Warriors 127-121 on Friday night.
The 6-foot-9 forward had 11 points during one two-minute stretch in the fourth quarter, powering the Thunder to a 17-point lead. With the crowd of 18,203 chanting "MVP! MVP!" he made two foul shots with 2:45 remaining to establish a new career-best scoring total.
"When you've got it going, I look at the bench and see how my teammates are reacting, and that just gives me an extra push," Durant said. "Then, I hear the fans."
Durant made 19 of 28 field goals and 11 of 13 free throws in his third straight game with at least 36 points.
"As a leader, my main objective is to serve my teammates, help them out," he said. "Some nights, I've got to put it up, I've got to score. Some nights, I've got to do other things. Tonight, they found me and I was able to hit a few shots. I just tried to do as best as I can to lead the team and lead us to victory."
It was the kind of performance that gets fans fired up about postseason awards in mid-January.
"It's premature," Durant said. "It's way too early in the season. I try not to think about that type of stuff. Of course, as a player, you'd love to win an MVP award, but I can't take my focus off the team. Every day, I've just got to keep chipping away, keep enjoying the process, and we'll see what happens."
Serge Ibaka had 21 points and eight rebounds, Reggie Jackson scored 14 points and Kendrick Perkins added 12 rebounds for the Thunder (30-10), who won for the third time in four games. Oklahoma City shot 58 percent from the field and scored a season-high point total.
Stephen Curry had 37 points and 11 assists, and Klay Thompson added 26 points for the Warriors (25-16), who shot 52 percent but simply couldn't match up with Durant.
"We battled him for the most part, and he got hot in the fourth and knocked down some big shots for them," Warriors center Andrew Bogut said. "There's a reason why he's a perennial All-Star and future Hall of Famer, and possibly MVP this year."