When he was on the verge of winning his second straight NBA scoring title two years ago, Thunder forward Kevin Durant couldn't help but smile when asked if he looked at the league scoring leaders chart throughout the season.
“If I told you I didn't, I'd be lying,” confessed Durant, who was 22 years old at the time.
Two years later, as a serious threat to win his fourth straight scoring title, Durant now looks at his entire body of work, not just at the league's list of scoring leaders.
“I think the media looks at it more,” Durant said before the Thunder's 103-80 victory over the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena. “I just try to be solid every game, shooting good shots.”
With 10 games remaining in the regular season, Durant is averaging 28.2 points per game. New York's Carmelo Anthony is next with a 27.5-point average.
Not only is Durant going after another scoring title, he also leads the league in free-throw percentage and is attempting to become a member of the prestigious “180 Club” in which a player shoots at least 50 percent from the floor, 40 percent from 3-point range and 90 percent from the free-throw line.
Through Wednesday's game, Durant stands at 50.2 percent from the floor, 41.0 percent on 3-pointers and 90.7 from the free-throw line. Against the Wizards, Durant had 20 points, shot 4 for 10 from the field, 2 for 2 from 3-point range, 10 for 10 on free throws and also added six rebounds and six assists.
“Some nights I may get it, some nights I may not,” Durant said of maintaining his 50-40-90 pace. As for free throws, I know I'm sitting right above 90 percent. I just want to make every single one every time I step to the line. That's my goal.”
That in mind, Durant viewed it as just another bucket with 1:44 left in the second quarter when teammate Russell Westbrook batted the ball ahead to a streaking Durant, who dunked home his 12,000th career point in only his sixth NBA season.
Afterward, Durant spoke about his team, not about himself.
“I like the way we're moving the ball,” Durant said. “I like the way we're helping each other out on defense and talking. If we can keep that up no matter what, we'll be fine. Right now, I know we love to win basketball games, but it's about bettering our habits.
“There's 10 games left and we want to continue playing sound, solid defense, moving the ball on offense, going out there and wreaking havoc, getting steals and getting blocked shots and try to get some easy points.”
Twelve thousand points … and counting.