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
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— Twelve hours after claiming the scoring lead from Kobe Bryant on Monday night, Kevin Durant claimed he still wasn't aware that he had moved past Bryant and into sole possession of the top spot until notified by the media on the morning of Tuesday's matchup with the Los Angeles Clippers.

In this day and age, with social networking so prevalent, believe Durant at your own peril.

But the reigning three-time scoring champion then downplayed his latest achievement.

“I'm just more focused on trying to get better individually and then helping my team get better as well,” Durant said, “just passing, rebounding, just trying to do everything on the floor to help my team. If I lead the league in scoring, that's pretty cool as well.”

Entering the Clippers game, Durant was averaging 29.5 points. He had averaged 37.5 points in his previous six contests. That hot streak, coupled with a slump in which Bryant averaged “only” 24.1 points in his previous eight games, enabled Durant to make up what had been a sizable and season-long difference.

Durant officially took over after Bryant on Monday night netted just 16 points in a road loss to Chicago.

If there was anything at all special about leading the league in scoring again in Durant's mind it's that his lead has been built naturally. He hasn't focused on pouring in points. Instead, he's made it a point to become a more complete player this year.

Ironically, that's precisely why Durant doubts he'll hold onto his lead.

“I shot a lot of shots the last few games,” said Durant, who averaged 23.2 attempts in his previous six before Tuesday. “I'm sure I'm not going to be shooting 30 shots, 20 shots every game. I'm sure guys like (Carmelo Anthony), Kobe, LeBron (James), those guys are going to pass me here and there. I'm sure it's going to be a flip-flop between guys throughout the whole season.”

If Durant does hold on, he'll become only the third player in NBA history to win four consecutive scoring crowns.

Wilt Chamberlain and Michael Jordan are the other two.

Let that sink in.

At 24, Durant would earn his fourth crown two years earlier than Chamberlain did and three years faster than Jordan.

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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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