For a vast majority of NBA players, an 86-percent clip from the free throw line is something they can only dream about.
For Kevin Durant, it’s just a disappointing number that represents his second-lowest mark in the past five seasons.
And of late, it’s been slowly dipping. Durant shot 85 percent from the line in February and, entering Tuesday, was only 82 percent in March. Still a strong conversion rate, but considering how many he takes — Durant is the league leader at 10.1 attempts per game — it’s a noticeable difference.
In the past month, Durant has missed five in a game twice and six in a game once. He’s gone a full season without doing that before. But he doesn’t seem worried.
“I would love to make them all, but it definitely doesn’t frustrate me,” Durant said. “I just got to keep working on them and knock them down when I get a chance.”
Despite shooting 50 percent overall and 40 percent from 3-point range, with 11 games left, Durant has virtually no chance at a repeat 50-40-90 season because of the free throws.
KD on Dirk
Before Tuesday’s game against the Mavericks, Durant reiterated to the Dallas media his basketball love for Dirk Nowitzki.
“Yeah,” Durant said when asked if Nowitzki was his favorite current player. “It’s probably a tie between him and Kobe. He’s one of those guys that you can tell is so humble, puts in a lot of work. Not really a flashy guy, just go out there and drop 30 points easy.”
In the past, Durant has been especially complimentary of Nowitzki’s nearly unguardable one-legged fadeaway, a move Durant has implemented into his game. But according to Durant, the admiration goes beyond that.
“It’s a lot more than just the one-legger,” Durant said. “He has a lot of moves I try to steal.”
Barring any setbacks, Tuesday’s game against the Mavericks was the first of at least three straight games Russell Westbrook will play.
Of the 11 remaining regular-season games, Westbrook should play at least eight.
But in all of them, Westbrook is expected to remain on a minutes restriction, limited to around 30. Coach Scott Brooks said there have not yet been internal discussions about whether those limitations will be lifted in the postseason.
Stat of the game
Kevin Durant entered play on Tuesday averaging 32.2 points per game. That would be the highest total in the NBA since 2005-06, when Kobe Bryant averaged 35.4.
Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle on Durant: “He’s a great, great, great scorer. I’ve never seen a guy that size just be able to do the things that he can do. Handle it, get it places and just getting it in the basket.”
The Thunder has two days off before a pair of cushy home games against the Kings on Friday and the Jazz on Sunday. Those two have a combined record of 48-93.