DENVER — Perhaps most shocking about Kevin Durant scoring 52 points against the Dallas Mavericks on Friday night is that it marked only the second time in his career the NBA's three-time scoring champ had reached half-a-hundred.
And that's at any level — high school, college or pro. Durant modestly disregards his 66-point outing at Harlem's Rucker Park on Aug. 1, 2011.
Presumably more 50-plus outings await the Thunder's affable 24-year-old, who now trails Wilt Chamberlain by 116 career 50-point games.
Both of Durant's 50-point efforts required overtime for him to get there.
Durant played 49 minutes, 40 seconds as OKC edged the Mavericks 117-114 in overtime Friday at American Airlines Center.
“He's the best offensive player on the planet,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said afterward. “I don't think there's any question about that. There's some things we obviously could have done to limit him, and that's on me, too.”
Durant's previous career high was 51 points last season against the Denver Nuggets at Chesapeake Energy Arena. In that same game, Russell Westbrook had 40 points and nine assists and Serge Ibaka posted his first triple-double with 14 points, 15 rebounds and 11 blocked shots.
Denver (24-18) happens to be the next opponent for the Thunder (32-8), which will be looking for its seventh straight victory. Tipoff is 7 p.m. Sunday at the Pepsi Center.
The last player to have consecutive 50-point games was Kobe Bryant, who had four straight 50-plus outings from March 16-23, 2007.
Durant's performance against Dallas was the NBA's first 50-point game this season. In the process, he lifted his season scoring average from 28.7 to 29.3 to slip past New York's Carmelo Anthony (29.2) as the league's second-leading scorer behind Bryant (29.7).
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CAREER 50-POINT GAMES
Wilt Chamberlain: 118
Michael Jordan: 39
Kobe Bryant: 24
Elgin Baylor: 18
Rick Barry: 15
Allen Iverson: 11