When Adrian Peterson was within shouting distance of the NFL single-season rushing record last season, Peterson went after the record with gusto.
When Kevin Durant had a chance to win the NBA scoring title — a longshot chance, to be sure, 70 points required — on Wednesday night, he sat out the game. Welcome to the Thunder Way, which is wildly successful but also can be boring.
Can you imagine how much excitement would have been in Chesapeake Arena if Durant had come out with the avowed goal of trying for 70? If he had scored nine points in the first quarter, then he could have been pulled and told to rest. If he scored 19 in the first quarter, then we’ve got an interesting night.
“If Kevin really wanted to win the scoring title, he would have done it weeks ago,” Scotty Brooks said. Which is an excellent point.
Durant always has gone about his business in a professional way, and it would look a little untoward with a blatant play for the scoring title. So I get why Durant didn’t go for it. But here’s my biggest problem with Durant sitting Wednesday night. The fans. Particularly, the fans who never have been to a Thunder game, which you know there are more several every night the Boomers take the court.
Can you imagine the disappointment if your first Thunder game was Wednesday night, and there was no Durant, Kendrick Perkins, Kevin Martin or Nick Collison?
At least Russell Westbrook is playing, even if it is for just 7-8 minutes, as Brooks planned. Brooks admitted Westbrook’s consecutive-game streak — he’s never missed a game in his five NBA seasons — played a part in Westbrook not sitting out.
“It’s a great streak,” Brooks said.
Plus, Brooks said, “I like Russell’s leadership. He starts our engine up for us. He doesn’t get enough credit for that. He starts the guys going.”