MIAMI (CBSMiami) – While the Miami Heat took the night off to sing a little “Battioke” with teammate Shane Battier, the NBA’s top MVP candidate near the halfway point of the season put on another show in Oklahoma City.
OKC Thunder star Kevin Durant may be the NBA’s best pure scorer since Michael Jordan was in his prime. In the last 11 games, Durant has scored at least 30 points, which is the longest such stretch in the NBA in the past decade.
Monday night, Durant put on a show again finishing with 41 points on 15-25 shooting against the Atlanta Hawks. No matter what the Hawks threw at Durant, the OKC star kept pouring in the points including the game winner.
Nowhere was this on display more than on the final possession of the game. Everyone who has watched the Thunder play knew Durant was going to get the ball, including all of the Atlanta Hawks. When Durant got the ball near the top of the key, he was first double-teamed and then triple-teamed as he elevated for a shot near the right elbow.
Durant hit nothing but net on his fall-away jump shot to seal the victory for the Thunder. Take a look at the play here:
The strange part is Durant is pulling away for the MVP award despite the most recent MVP, Miami Heat star LeBron James, putting up great numbers, albeit a lot quieter.
Consider, Durant is averaging 31.3 points per game, along with 6.9 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 1.5 steals all while shooting 51 percent from the field and 41.9 percent from behind the three-point line. For comparison, James is averaging 26 points, 6.9 rebounds, 6.5 assists, and 1.3 steals and is shooting 57.9 percent from the field and 37.5 percent from behind the 3-point-line.
Looking at the more advanced stats, James has a player-efficiency rating of 28.7 compared to Durant’s 31.1. LeBron has a true shooting percentage of .659 compared to Durant’s .645. Where Durant separates himself is in win share per 48 minutes, where the OKC star is at an insane .329 while LeBron sits at a great .266.
Durant and James are by far the two best players on the planet and they will likely continue to battle it out in the stat sheets and on the highlight reels for the rest of the season for the MVP award.