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Kevin Durant closes in on scoring title

By Darnell Mayberry, Staff Writer, dmayberry@opubco.com Modified: April 14, 2010 at 8:01 am •  Published: April 14, 2010

Kevin Durant no longer can say he hasn’t achieved anything.

The Oklahoma City Thunder’s star forward has long used that reasoning to remove his name from any conversation revolving around the game’s greats, past or present.

But as the Thunder concludes its regular season tonight against Memphis, it’s Durant who now sits 48 minutes from finishing the year atop the list of scoring leaders.

At 21 years, 197 days, Durant is poised to become the youngest player in NBA history to win the scoring title.

Durant enters tonight’s finale averaging 30.1 points. Cleveland star LeBron James ranks second at 29.7 points per game. James has sat out the Cavaliers’ past three games to rest up for the playoffs, and even if the All-Star forward played tonight, he would have to outscore Durant by 33 points to take the crown.

"He makes it look easy,” said Thunder forward Jeff Green. "I’ve seen him put in all the work to get the offensive arsenal that he has. So he deserves it.”

Durant’s exploits this season have included 29 straight games of 25 points or more — the longest such streak since Michael Jordan in the 1986-87 season — 47 games of at least 30 points and eight games of at least 40 points. Durant also leads the league with 10.3 free-throw attempts per game and has made a league-high 741 foul shots.

Through it all, Durant has admittedly surprised himself. At seemingly every stop on his 82-game tour this season, he’s shot down inquiries about whether he could lead the league in scoring or average 30 points.

"I didn’t think he could,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks when asked if he could foresee his franchise player posting a 30-point average in his third season.

"If you would have told me 30 games ago, I would have said no. He has the ability to score it, but his percentage is high. He’s not just jacking up shots. He’s not a volume shooter to get his points.”

Although his 3-point shooting percentage has dipped this season to 36.


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