CHICAGO — Kevin Durant considers his latest scoring tear the same as the rest.
But that doesn’t make it insignificant.
In Monday’s win at Chicago, Durant topped 25 points for the 32nd straight game. He passed Spencer Haywood for sole possession of the second longest streak of 25-point games over the past 50 years. The longest streak over that span belongs to Michael Jordan, who did it in 40 straight games during the 1986-87 season.
Durant can tie that mark on April 4 at Houston. He can surpass His Airness on April 6 at Phoenix.
“I just go out there and play, have fun and play to win,” Durant said. “If all that stuff comes with it, then that’s cool. But I have bigger goals in mind.”
That attitude is one of the things Thunder coach Scott Brooks appreciates most about Durant’s streak.
“What impresses me the most is two things, his consistency and his ability not to worry about it,” Brooks said. “I know when I had a three-game streak of four (points), I was worried about that fourth game. I had to make my first shot. He’s not worried about it. He’s worried about playing hard and playing the correct way and finding ways to help his team win. That’s what he’s done. He’s an amazing leader and he’s so consistent.”
Of course, that’s really what this streak is, a mark of consistency.
The last time Durant failed to reach 25 points was on Jan. 5. It came in a 23-point home win over Boston. Durant was needed for only 27 minutes in the eventual blowout. He finished with 21 points on 6-for-13 shooting.
Since then, Durant has averaged 34.9 points, 6.9 rebounds and 6.2 assists. He’s connected on 51.7 percent of his attempts from the field and 39.2 percent of his 3-point tries.
The Thunder is 21-11 over that span, which included a 10-game winning streak.
“He’s just playing great,” said Thunder guard Russell Westbrook. “He’s done a great job all season long of playing consistent, playing at an MVP level, and he’s going to continue to lead us.”
Asked what impresses him the most about Durant’s streak, Westbrook also marveled at his teammate’s consistency.
“Regardless of who’s out (of the lineup), who’s in, he comes out every night and plays his game,” Westbrook said. “Rebounds, passes the ball and does it all. And he does it every night.”
Durant’s streak began with a run of 30-point nights. He had 12 straight from Jan. 7 through Jan. 29. That run ended only when Durant didn’t need to play the fourth quarter at Brooklyn after the Thunder took a 30-point lead into the final period. Through the first three frames, however, Durant was every bit as dominant, if not more. He scored 26 points on 10-for-12 shooting and, rather than force shots to keep that streak alive, he willingly deferred to teammates and racked up seven assists in three quarters.
It was the longest streak of 30-point games since Tracy McGrady did it 14 times in 2003.
Durant cared more that the Thunder’s winning streak stretched to 10.
“That’s the most important streak,” Durant said that night.
Durant is now taking a similar attitude with his 25-point streak.
A relatively favorable schedule in the Thunder’s final 15 games suggests Durant could shatter Jordan’s mark and finish the season on a 47-game run of 25-point performances.
But the three-time scoring champion seems much more focused on seeing his injured teammates, starters Thabo Sefolosha and Kendrick Perkins, get healthy, the Thunder solving its second-half issues with inconsistency and OKC building a head of steam going into the postseason.
“Another good thing,” Brooks said when asked how long the streak could last. “He doesn’t care and I don’t care. We’re just going to keep playing good basketball. If it goes another game in Cleveland, great. If it doesn’t, we’ll worry about playing every night the way we’re capable of playing.”