Darrell Arthur was wearing Nike high tops. White uppers. Silver details. Baby blue swoosh.
Kevin Durant only made it look like he was wearing roller skates.
Late in the first quarter Monday night, the Thunder superstar took Arthur for a ride. He crossed over to the right, leaving the Nuggets forward reeling. Then, Durant crossed over to the left, and Arthur was lucky not to trip himself.
Durant finished the humiliation hitting a soft jumper and drawing a foul.
Say it with me: M-V-P! M-V-P!
On the day that three-time MVP Magic Johnson proclaimed the race over, Durant further stated his case for the top individual honor handed out by the association. He didn’t have a monster night in a 117-96 win against Denver, not by his standards anyway. He didn’t have a triple-double or even a double-double.
He had a night that reminded you how effortless he makes everything seem.
“He makes it look easy, but it’s not easy what he does,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. “He demands a lot of attention. Everybody’s scouting report going into the game is, ‘Make his touches difficult and don’t give him any easy looks.’”
And still, Durant fills the stat sheet and leads the way. Late in the second quarter Monday when the Nuggets were still within striking distance, he had a spurt that basically put the game out of reach.
It started with a drive to the basket. He dribbled past his defender and caused two Nuggets defenders to give chase. He crashed hard into Denver big man Timofey Mozgov but somehow kept control of the ball and put up a shot that fell through.
Remember, this is a 6-foot-11 forward handling the ball like a point guard.
Durant makes hand-to-hand combat with NBA behemoths look like a walk through the Myriad Gardens.
Then came a jumper.
Then a driving dunk.
Then an assist.
And like that, the Thunder was up 17 points.
Durant had 22 points and six assists at halftime. He only scored five more points and dished two more assists in the second half, but he only played another 12 minutes and sat the entire fourth quarter.
Lucky for the Nuggets.
Durant’s 25-plus-point games streak now stands at 35. Five more, and he will tie Michael Jordan’s mark of 40 consecutive games with 25-plus, which is the longest such streak of the past 50 years.
These are historic days, amazing days, awe-inspiring days.
Now, I’m sure that everyone is going to be giddy for these next couple days about the game-winner that LeBron James hit Monday night. Think ESPN will slobber over it much?
But was it any better than the double-overtime game-winner that Durant hit Saturday night? That three was from deep, and it capped a 51-point performance in a come-from-behind win against the Raptors.
Durant also added 12 rebounds and seven rebounds that night.
His averages last week in three road games: 40.3 points, 11.7 rebounds and 6.0 assists.
“He can score,” Brooks said. “We know that. But he impacts our game, our team on the defensive end and in his passing.”
Sure, sure. But about that double crossover move that had everyone buzzing …
“We were having a little fun with it,” Thunder point guard Reggie Jackson said. “Probably had us on the edge of our seats a little too long. Found ourselves standing for about 10 seconds waiting for him to hurry up and just finish the basket.”
It’s easy to get lulled by the ease with which Durant does what he does, but don’t be fooled like Darrell Arthur was. It’s not every day you see a player who can change another player’s high tops into roller skates.
“I felt good,” Durant said of the play. “I felt like I was back at the park back home.”
Right now, he’s making the NBA look like his own personal playground.
Jenni Carlson: Jenni can be reached at 475-4125. Like her at facebook.com/JenniCarlsonOK, follow her at twitter.com/jennicarlson_ok or view her personality page at newsok.com/jennicarlson.