UPDATE -- 10 a.m., Wednesday: Kevin Durant announced Wednesday via Instagram that he would not play in the Thunder's season-finale vs. the Milwauke. New York's Carmelo Anthony will win the 2012-13 NBA scoring title.
Kevin Durant's reign as the NBA's best scorer will come to an end Wednesday night.
Unless, of course, the Thunder forward finds a way to post 70 points in his team's regular-season finale against the Milwaukee Bucks.
That's how many points Durant would need to score to surpass New York forward Carmelo Anthony, assuming Anthony doesn't play in the Knicks' final game against Atlanta.
“He has no shot,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said, half-jokingly, of Durant. “I guarantee you he won't get it.”
Brooks, though, would know. He's the man controlling the distribution of minutes, and he said Durant and the rest of the team's regulars “are going to play very limited minutes” in the season finale.
It will bring an end to a three-year run Durant has enjoyed as the league's scoring champion. Had he secured a fourth consecutive scoring crown, Durant would have joined Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain as the only players in NBA history to lead the league in scoring four straight seasons.
“I give Kevin a lot of credit,” Brooks said, “because maybe 10 games ago, if he was really focused on trying to get it four years in a row, he could have got it easily.”
Durant enters the final night of the regular season averaging 28.1 points. Anthony is averaging 28.7. But Durant has appeared in every game this season, while Anthony has missed 14 games. On total points, Durant leads Anthony 2,280 to 1,920.
Then there is the matter of efficiency.
Anthony has attempted 22.2 shots per game, 0.2 off of his career high, and an eye-popping 26.5 in his eight April games. Durant, meanwhile, has averaged only 17.7 shots this season, his fewest attempts since his rookie year, and hoisted just 15.9 in his seven April contests.
“Many times … he was trying to get a triple-double,” Brooks said of Durant. “And when you try to get 10 assists, that means you're not trying to score.”
Additionally, thanks to the Thunder's league-leading 9.4-point scoring differential, Durant didn't play in 14 fourth quarters this season. Had he been needed in those games and scored even half of his NBA-best 8.4 fourth-quarter points, Durant would be in the lead with a 28.9 average right now.
“Next year he can lead the league in scoring,” Brooks said. “But that's never been (Durant's) focus. He wants to win a championship.”
Teammates credit Durant's maturity for that focus.
“It's a real thing to have a common goal of winning the championship. I think that's what's changed here. That's where we're at right now,” said Nick Collison. “The other things don't seem as important, I guess, as they once did. It's good to be a part of it.”
Still, how much fun would it be to watch Durant shoot for 70?
It's been 19 years since David Robinson hung 71 on the Los Angeles Clippers on the final day of the 1993-94 season to surpass Shaquille O'Neal for the scoring crown. It's been 35 years since David Thompson erupted for 73 points on the final day of the 1978-79 season before George Gervin wrestled away the scoring title later that night by scoring 63 points.
“I'll try if you want me to,” Durant playfully told a reporter.
The reporter then responded by saying he would love to see him try.
“All right,” Durant said. “I'll try to get 70.”
If only he were serious.