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Oh, Hello Mr. Durant: Thoughts on the NBA for 1/5/14

  • Kevin Durant was at it again last night, dropping 48 points, grabbing 7 rebounds and handing out 7 assists. Oh, and by the way, he hit the game winner as well with a step back jumper in the closing seconds. The guy is just incredible. It’s been interesting to see him play without Westbrook – something we expected to see at the beginning of the season – in the recent weeks. In the five games Westbrook has missed, Durant’s shot totals have been: 28, 17, 26, 13, and 32. In the last five games Westbrook played in, Durant’s shot totals were: 23, 20, 14, 16, 16. Obviously he has needed to take on a bigger offensive role in Westbrook’s absence, and he’s done so superbly. Despite the increased shot totals, he hasn’t shot less than 46% in a game since Westbrook went down. (Side note: It also shows how incredible LeBron is when Durant – for all his glory – is still clearly second best.)

 

  • What a win for Philadelphia last night as they went into the Moda Center Rose Garden and held on (barely) for a 101-99 win. They gave Damian Lillard a chance to tie or win on the final possession, but this time around he couldn’t get it done. Big time performance from Thaddeus Young in this one, scoring 30 points (including two big baskets in the final minute) and grabbing 6 rebounds. Young, having a great year at 18 points and 7 rebounds a night, is criminally underrated (at least by the casual fan). Oh, and by the way, the Sixers have quietly won four in a row and are back in the playoff hunt.

 

  • Speaking of winning streaks, the two longest streaks in the league are on the line tonight. The Toronto Raptors face a tough test to keep theirs alive as they travel to Miami to take on the Heat. Most likely, the streak ends tonight. Out West, the Golden State Warriors sport the league’s longest win streak at eight games. They have a good chance to extend it tonight as they face the Washington Wizards.

 

  • One last note for today: It appears losing is taking its toll on the Milwaukee Bucks, as Larry Sanders (He’s not back to LARRY SANDERS! but he’s shed larry sanders¡ for now.) and Gary Neal got into it after they lost last night in Phoenix. Was it the worst thing ever? No, probably not, but it’s never a good sign when players start taking personal shots at each other – media present or not.

jmaloney