“I have a good job,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks, only half-jokingly when asked what goes through his mind while watching Durant erupt for 50-plus points.
“He had a game tonight where he was hard to contain,” Brooks added. “When a special player in the league has a hot hand, it’s not a lot you can do.”
Durant’s surge has shot his league-leading scoring average to 30 points. If he maintains this pace, it’ll be the second time he’s averaged 30 points for a season. The last time was 2009-10, when he finished with a 30.1-point average.
He’s added eight rebounds, five assists and 1.5 steals, all career highs. His Player Efficiency Rating (29.57) also leads all players.
That efficiency was again on display Friday.
Durant poured in 29 points by halftime, making 11 of 14 shots to help the Thunder keep up with the fast-paced Warriors and sit on a 71-65 lead at the break.
Durant scored a quiet 10 in the third quarter before emphatically slamming the door shut on Golden State with 15 points in the fourth as the Warriors tried to make one last push.
With the Warriors within nine inside the final seven minutes, Durant scored 13 straight for the Thunder to put the game out of reach at 123-109 with 2:45 remaining. He hit three straight 3-pointers during the rally and nailed a turnaround jumper before stepping to the line for the free throws that finally compelled the Chesapeake Energy Arena crowd to shower him with the MVP chant.
“We needed it,” said Nick Collison of Durant’s performance. “But I think the good thing about it is he really didn’t force much. He didn’t take very many bad shots. He was able to get a lot of it in rhythm, and it was an incredible performance. We have seen it a few times before, but he’s really got it going.”