Kevin Durant registered his fifth straight double-double Saturday at San Antonio, tying his longest streak of games with double digits in two categories.
Durant is averaging 30.8 points and 12.2 rebounds over the past five games. Perhaps just as impressive, Durant has shot 51.4 percent over that same span.
With 10 double-doubles this season, Durant ranks 14th in the NBA and is on pace to set a personal best for double-doubles in a season, even in a lockout-shortened 66-game season. His career high for double-doubles in a season is 25 in 2009-10. As a rookie, Durant recorded only one, getting it in his final regular season game. In 2008-09, Durant had 15 double-doubles, and last season he finished with 14.
Oddly enough, Durant's five-game streak of double-doubles last season came at nearly the exact same stretch of the season. He averaged 30.4 points and 10.6 rebounds from Jan. 30 through Feb. 8.
“That's something that coach wants me to do,” said Durant about rebounding after grabbing a season-high on Jan. 21 at New Jersey. “He said I can get 10 a game, so I'm just going to try to go out there and get 10 and play as hard as I can on both ends of the floor. I think if I help the bigs out it'll make it much easier for us to push the ball and get easy points on the other end.”
BENCH COMES UP BIG AGAINST SPURS
One of the few bright spots in the Thunder's 11-point loss against the Spurs was the bench play. Just when it looked like San Antonio would run away with a blowout win, the Thunder's reserves gave the team a chance to steal a victory after trailing by 24 late in the third quarter.
After the Spurs took an 88-64 lead with 1:01 remaining in the third period, Reggie Jackson, James Harden, Lazar Hayward, Daequan Cook and Nick Collison started the fourth quarter staring at an 18-point deficit. But they went on a 14-5 run to cut the margin to nine with 8:27 left to play.
“They gave us some hope,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. “That's what teams are about. Everybody has to chip in when they get the opportunity. Give them a lot of credit. They didn't put their head down. They went in there and plugged away and made the game somewhat competitive going into the fourth quarter.”
Jackson was particularly impressive during the run. The rookie point guard scored five points on a 3-pointer and a floater, showing solid poise in the face of adversity on the road.
DEFENDING THE 3-BALL
After the Thunder allowed San Antonio to make 12-of-23 3-pointers Saturday, Brooks said his team “had no answer” for Spurs point guard Tony Parker (game-high 42 points) or the Spurs' 3-point shooters.
“We normally are a pretty good defensive 3 team,” Brooks said. “But they had us in the pick-and-roll, and we were helping out and they were getting it out (to their shooters) and hitting their 3s.”
Even after allowing the Spurs to shoot 53.2 percent from downtown, the Thunder still ranks fifth in the league in 3-point defensive percentage, allowing just 31.8 percent a night.
Oklahoma City, however, has allowed at least 12 3-pointers in three of its past five games. The Los Angeles Clippers last Monday made 13, the most an opponent has hit against the Thunder this season.
The Thunder's five-game road trip continues Monday night at Portland. It will be the first time this season the Thunder has played the Blazers inside the Rose Garden. Portland, which defeated the Thunder 103-93 in Oklahoma City Jan. 3, is 11-1 at home. Tip-off is scheduled for 9 p.m. Oklahoma time.