Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant and Miami Heat forward LeBron James usually top any list of the best players in the NBA.
At least for now, that debate is over. At this point in the season, Durant is the clear MVP.
Durant has scored 30 or more points in 11 consecutive games, the longest streak since Tracy McGrady’s 14 in a row with Orlando in 2003. He’s averaging 31.3 points, 7.8 rebounds and 5.2 assists in 38.1 minutes per game for the Thunder, which has won eight in a row and leads the league in wins (36).
On Monday, he scored 41 points – 13 in the fourth quarter – to rally the Thunder past the Hawks 111-109, and his jumper with 1.5 seconds left capped a 14-point second-half comeback.
Sure, his numbers are up because of Russell Westbrook’s injury, but he’s not taking as many of Westbrook’s shots as one might expect. During his 11-game hot streak, Durant has averaged 22.8 shots while shooting 54.5 percent, compared to his season numbers of 19.8 and 51 percent shooting.
Tonight, when the Thunder and Heat play for the first time this season, it’s going to be fun watching James vs. Durant, the four-time MVP vs. the No. 1 contender.
Remember, this isn’t a matchup of a great point guard against a great center, who would not go one-on-one in a game. These guys play the same position and will guard each other.
And you can bet James, one of the NBA’s best defenders, will do everything he can to stop Durant’s streak.
– Tom Couzens
What to watch
NBA, Memphis at Kings, 7 p.m., CSNCA: Can the Kings hold the Grizzlies to fewer than 100 points?
At this point in the NBA season, who is the MVP ?
• Kevin Durant
• Paul George
• LeBron James
Vote above, or go to www.sacbee.com/sports
Should the NFL continue the Pro Bowl?
• Yes, it’s a tradition: 26%
• No, many of the top stars don’t play: 74%.
Total votes: 129