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Thunder's Kevin Durant downplays lead in scoring race

Reigning three-time champ has a shot at a fourth straight crown.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: January 22, 2013

George Gervin and Allen Iverson are the other two players who have won at least four scoring titles in their careers.

“Playing with him, I think we get spoiled,” said Nick Collison. “We see it all the time. He's obviously a special, special scorer and he's gotten a lot better. He's improved in a lot of other areas. He's more efficient scoring the ball, but he's also making better decisions passing. He's setting up his cuts better and catching the ball in better places. He's evolving and it's been a lot of fun to watch.”

With half the season in the books, Durant also continues to be on pace for a pursuit of historic efficiency. Going into the Clippers game, Durant was shooting 51.6 percent from the field, 40.4 percent from the 3-point line and 90.9 percent from the foul line. Only five other players in NBA history — Larry Bird, Mark Price, Reggie Miller, Steve Nash and Dirk Nowitzki — have accomplished that feat.

“He's just so much more comfortable,” Collison said. “He knows how to counter or snap out of it if things aren't going well. He knows where to try to catch the ball to get an easier look or get to the line and things like that.”

The first two games of this six-game road tip illustrated Durant's growth. Unlike past years, Durant wasn't taken out of the offense when he struggled with his shot at Dallas and Denver. Though he only made a combined 20 of 51 shots, Durant still tallied 87 points in those two contests, largely by working his way to the foul line 21 times in each game. He made 41 of those 42 free throws.

As a result, the achievements continue to pile up — even if Durant insists he's not paying attention.

“He just plays,” Collison confirmed. “That's crazy that he can do those things. But it's not really a focus for him. I think it just comes naturally. He's extremely talented. He works extremely hard and now he's figuring out more and more about the game so he's going to keep getting better.”

by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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