Kevin Durant has stumbled upon a seasonal sweet spot.
And it might be causing fans to experience dÃ©jÃ vu.
Here in the middle of December, the Oklahoma City Thunder star is again quietly finding his rhythm. It was a year ago Wednesday that Durant started last season's 29-game streak of at least 25 points. And just like last year, Durant now looks dialed in.
Durant enters tonight's game at Charlotte shooting 48.6 percent in December, shaking off a slow shooting start that had some questioning his MVP front-runner label at the start of 2010-11.
Durant started his streak in game No. 27 last season. Tonight marks the Thunder's 29th game but just the 25th for Durant, who has missed four games due to injury. And Durant admitted he senses that he's hitting his stride.
â€œI feel that a little bit,â€ Durant said.
Durant's statistics from last season and this year are eerily similar.
In the Thunder's first 26 games last year, Durant averaged 27.1 points on 44.8 percent shooting. He shot just 28.4 percent from 3-point range. Through Durant's first 24 games this season, he's averaging 27.4 points on 43.9 percent shooting, along with a 29.8-percent clip from 3.
But Durant has connected on 46 percent or better from the field in five of his past eight games, and his rhythm and timing have looked much improved from earlier in the year.
Durant credits film study. After his second-worst shooting display this season â€” a 7-for-22 effort against New Orleans on Nov. 29 â€” Durant decided to dissect some tape. The results were borderline shocking.
â€œI wasn't disciplined on my shot,â€ Durant said. â€œI was fading on my shot and I wasn't using my proper mechanics. Lately, I've just been trying to stay with my shot.â€
Durant didn't have an answer as to why he sputtered to such a slow start, making just 23 percent of his 3-pointer in November after a dominant performance in this summer's FIBA World Championship.
â€œI wouldn't say I was fatigued,â€ Durant said.
Durant also denies that added attention by opposing defenses has negatively affected him, often saying he's already seen it all. And Thunder coach Scott Brooks refused to concede that the emergence of point guard Russell Westbrook's offensive game has been a difficult adjustment for Durant to make.
â€œWe got a few guys that have improved offensively,â€ Brooks said. â€œJeff (Green) has gotten better. Serge (Ibaka) has definitely improved. James (Harden), lately, he's been much better. Everybody has to make an adjustment for your team to be successful. And Kevin is not an exception to that rule. Everybody has to sacrifice.â€
Durant thinks he has. Unlike last season, Durant boasts of being a more complete player.
â€œI feel like I'm doing other things for my team to win,â€ Durant said. â€œAs a player, that's what you want to do. Of course I'm going to get plenty of shots and opportunities to score and I want to capitalize on them. But I want to try to do other things like playing defense, getting steals and assists and getting blocks to help my team.
â€œIt's all about wins and losses here for us. I'm just trying to contribute.â€