So after Kevin Durant put up another 40+ point game in scoring 46 against the Blazers Tuesday night, Durant had scored 46 or more in 4 of the last 10 games, only done by Kobe Bryant since the 1976-1977 season. Oh yes, the Thunder also won the game, defeating the Portland TrailBlazers in a very important game 105-97. The Blazers had won the 1st two meetings and were looking for the tiebreaker, but Durant in the 4th quarter made sure that wasn’t going to happen.
Since Kobe Bryant’s binges in 03, 06, and 07 I haven’t seen something this impressive, and more importantly more efficient. Kobe had a lot of those 40+ games but needed a lot of shots to do so. I point specifically to a 12 game stretch that Kobe scored at least 35 points but included 19-41,14-31,13-34 shooting performances. To put that in perspective with Kevin Durant as of late, 4 out of the last 5 Durant games have produced 19-28,15-28,10-15, and 17-25 from last night. The only “off” Durant game was an 8-21 against Houston, in which he still scored 36 points and went to the free throw line 20 times and made 18. When you add the fact that Durant has a 30.94 PER level which is LeBron James MVP level, all you can say is wow.
In this stretch without Russell Westbrook Durant has found a way to up his scoring but also up his playmaking. Overall he’s averaging above 5 assists for the season and continues to find a way to be efficient with out ball dominating. To say the least, he’s been the MVP thus far this season. At 32-10 and right in the thick of things for the #1 seed in the Western Conference, KD has been scorching.
How many games can the Pacers Win?
So Indiana is 33-7 right now and currently on a 5 game west coast swing. They’re 21-1 at home and with an exception of a 2 game losing streak have been dominant all season. From Frank Vogel to the players they’ve been focused on getting the best record and homecourt advantage throughout especially over the Miami Heat. They’re at an above 60 win pace and while we never know how injuries/schedule will play out, can they win 65 +? It intrigues me because the more games they win this regular season, the more pressure there is to win the title come playoff time. Great expectations aren’t always the easiest thing to deal with. This Pacers team has proven up to the task thus far.
The Nets Are Already Right Back In the Picture.
Amazing what an 8 out of 9 stretch of winning basketball will do for you. Give the Nets credit, they’ve defended and rebounded the basketball a lot better, are getting very good play from Joe Johnson (18 PPG in last 10 and clutch play lately), and really have found something shifting KG and Pierce to Center and Power Forward respectively has done a world of good. Shaun Livingston has been really versatile defensively which helps with the Nets older perimeter defenders. Now if they can get Deron Williams to stay on the court and produce, the Nets will be in the mix for the 3 seed, which considering the 9-21 start has been impressive to see. (Even in the East, it’s impressive).
The Clippers Have Quietly Played Very Well.
Even with Chris Paul out, the Clippers have won 8 of the last 10 and are playing very well. Blake Griffin (25.2 PPG in the last 10) has improved leaps and bounds, and especially with Paul out has been very aggressive not only scoring but really improving his passing. They allow over 100 points per game but have shown stretches of improved defense. The fact that they’re 29-14 and right there for homecourt in the 1st round and 4 games back of the top spot in a very difficult conference. Note that they’ll have played 26 road games by the end of their road trip, so home cooking could be very generous going forward.
Memphis Has Marc Back, Could Be Dangerous.
The Grizzlies are 7-3 in the last 10 and with Marc Gasol back, could be a sleeper as far as not only making the playoffs but being a dangerous 1st round underdog. With Gasol and Zach Randolph, the Grizz have one of the best front court combos in the game, and with Conley having a career year who knows, maybe the Grizzlies will get right back into the playoff picture, only 3 games out of the 8th spot at 20-20.
The Season is going fast and furious, and not far from the all-star-break.