When Russell Westbrook was lost to the Thunder, we all figured that Kevin Durant needed to do the impossible. Step up his game.
Mission impossible has become mission accomplished. Despite a scoreless fourth quarter in Game 5, Durant has put together perhaps the greatest three-game stretch of his career. Let’s review:
Game 3: 41 points on 13-of-30 shooting, including the go-ahead 3-pointer with 41 seconds left; 14 rebounds, four assists, two steals, one blocked shot and four turnovers.
Game 4: 38 points on 12-of-16 shooting, eight rebounds, six assists, one steal and seven turnovers.
Game 5: 36 points on 11-of-23 shooting, seven rebounds, seven assists, one steal, one blocked shot and three turnovers.
So that’s a total of 115 points (38.3 per game), 29 rebounds (9.7), 17 assists (5.7), four steals, two blocked shots and 14 turnovers.
In Durant’s career, regular season and post-season, this is his fourth-highest scoring three games.
1. 120: Jan. 26-30, 2011: Durant scored 47 vs. Minnesota, 40 vs. Washington, 33 vs. Miami.
2. 118: April 4-7: Durant scored 40 on Minnesota, 45 on Utah and 33 on Denver.
3. 116: Jan. 28-Feb 2, 2011: After that highest-scoring trio, Durant added 43 on New Orleans.
In none of those trio of games did Durant collectively shoot over 50 percent from the field. He’s made 36 of 69 shots in these games, 52.2 percent.
The website basketball-reference.com has a category called gamescore, which is a complicated formula to put a number on a player’s total game. Game scores in the 20s are really good. A game score of 30 is fantastic. Durant’s game scores have been 29.3 in Game 3, 29.8 in Game 4 and 28.0 in Game 5. That’s a combined 87.1. That ranks 10th in Durant’s career for game scores over a three-game stretch.
All without Westbrook. All with the Thunder reeling and trying to find itself. In six NBA seasons, Durant never has stood taller than he’s standing right now.