Kevin Durant didn’t seem to care one bit that his 41-game streak of scoring at least 25 points came to an end Tuesday at Sacramento.
Two nights earlier, following a loss at Phoenix, Durant said he wished the streak was over. He got his wish after scoring 23 points in just three quarters of work in the Thunder’s runaway 107-92 win against the Kings.
When it was over, Durant explained that he didn’t feel comfortable with the attention the streak brought because it took away from his team.
“If we played well and I had 25 points that would take away from how well the team was playing so I didn’t like that,” Durant said. “If we lost, it was all about me scoring 25 points. I didn’t like that, either. I’m glad we can just talk about the team now.”
Durant and the rest of the Thunder’s starters got to sit the entire fourth quarter as the reserves extended an eight-point lead through three quarters to a 24-point advantage. Durant never considered checking back in to net two more points.
“I really wasn’t worried about it. I didn’t care,” Durant said. “The way our second unit came out to start the fourth, that was phenomenal basketball right there. That’s all I was worried about.”
Asked how difficult the streak was, Durant said “It wasn’t difficult. It was just taking away from the team. I don’t like all the attention on me when it’s a team game. So I’m glad it’s over.”
Thunder coach Scott Brooks echoed Durant.
“He’s about team,” Brooks said of Durant. “If he wasn’t he would have played golf and tried to chase (Jack) Nicklaus’ record of 18 majors.”
Durant’s 41 straight games of at least 25 points is the third-longest streak in NBA history over a single season. Wilt Chamberlain did it in 80 consecutive games in 1961-62. Oscar Robertson, in 1963-64, did it in 46 straight games. Durant finished one ahead of Michael Jordan, who is now fourth on the all-time list after doing it 40 times in 1986-87.
“Kevin hit the nail on the head last week,” Brooks said. “The record is 80. The league started in, like, ’46, not the class of ’84. No disrespect to all the other guys, but the record’s 80. Wilt Chamberlain’s one of the greatest players ever. He has the record of having consistency.”
CLIPPERS COACH CALLS KD THE MVP
If Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers had a vote for the Most Valuable Player award he’d cast it for Durant.
“I think Durant’s had the best year,” Rivers said. “I still think LeBron (James) is the best player in the NBA. But I think Durant has had an MVP year. I really believe that. I don’t know who has had a better year.”
Rivers went on to say Blake Griffin would be second or third in his book.
“I think second because I’m coaching him,” Rivers said.
Durant said he was flattered at Rivers’ statements.
“To get the respect from your peers and your coaches that you play against, I’d rather have that than from you guys (the media),” Durant said. “But Doc Rivers is a champion, a great coach. And for him to say that about me is flattering; very humbling.”
The Thunder played Wednesday with its full complement of players for the first time since Feb. 20 and just the second time since Christmas. …The Thunder will return to Oklahoma City on Thursday afternoon. … Clippers guard Jamal Crawford, a leading candidate for Sixth Man of the Year, missed his fifth straight game with a left calf strain. Crawford averaged 24.7 points in three games against the Thunder this season. …Clippers forward Matt Barnes missed the previous two days of practice while dealing with strep throat and was still battling the illness during Wednesday’s game. Said Rivers: “If we played Oklahoma in the first round, we’d absolutely have him rub up against (Durant). Get him a little sick.”