HOUSTON — As his sensational scoring streak stretched from days to weeks to mind-boggling months, Kevin Durant tried his best to maintain a team-first approach.
He tried to say the right things and play the right way.
But in his final two days on the brink of history, Durant, perhaps for the first time on this ridiculous run, finally experienced how difficult it was to do something he had made look so easy for so long.
Durant scored a team-high 28 points in the Thunder’s 111-107 loss Friday at Houston, needing nearly every second of the contest to tie Michael Jordan’s modern-era record for 40 straight games of at least 25 points.
But after the game, Durant predictably put the focus on his team’s performance rather than an individual achievement that came in defeat.
“We lost the game,” Durant said. “That’s all I’m worried about. So I don’t care. We lost.”
Despite the loss, the Thunder clinched its fourth straight Northwest Division championship thanks to Portland falling at home to Phoenix.
But this night belonged to Durant, whose streak signifies a player who has been so good for so long and possibly on the verge of wrapping up his first Most Valuable Player award.
Durant became the first player since Jordan in 1986-87 to score at least 25 points in 40 straight games. Wilt Chamberlain owns the single-season record for such a streak, scoring at least 25 in 80 straight games. Oscar Robertson also did it in 46 straight.
“Everybody keeps putting me in the same sentence as Michael Jordan, but Wilt Chamberlain did it like 180 games in a row. So it’s a long ways to get up there,” Durant said before the game. “But that’s not what I play the game for, individual records or accolades. I’m just going out there and playing my game, man, and having fun in the process. If it comes along with it, like I’ve always been saying, that’s cool. But if not then I can live with that.