OKC sent the league a message tonight with their 112-95 win on the road. The Thunder extended their win streak to nine games and Kevin Durant‘s streak of 30-point games is now up to 12 straight.
There was a load of hype surrounding this matchup, as there always is and will be when it comes down to not only the top two teams in recent history, but a battle between the two best players in the league as well. To most, Durant has earned the right to be considered the NBA‘s leading MVP candidate this far. To some, he still has a lot of work to do. To those doubters, his performance tonight should give you enough reason to give Durant — The Slim Reaper — the credit he rightfully deserves after his historic month of basketball.
Durant finished the game with 33 points on 12-23 shooting and also pulled down seven rebounds and tallied up five assists. James scored 34 on 12-20 shooting, but Durant’s performance was far more impressive and led his team to a blowout victory. At times, it looked as if Durant did not even notice that one of the best defenders in the world was guarding him. He gave James the same treatment as everyone else over the past month. After tonight, everyone should agree that the title of “King” should be snatched from James and put aside for Durant until he wins his first NBA Championship – which could come sooner than most may think.
What should not be overlooked is Durant’s extremely potent effort of holding down LeBron in crucial moments of the game. Durant’s length proved to more of an issue than LeBron’s physicality. Durant’s speed, quickness and shooting ability makes him more dangerous than James in many ways. Durant’s passing, rebounding and defensive abilities are improving and may exceed James’ skills soon.
Durant and the Thunder have won the battle, but the war is far from over. Still, it should feel extremely good for fans in OKC to know that their team is virtually unstoppable at this point. If you can destroy the reigning champions without your second best players, then you are clearly the best team in league. OKC continues to knocks off elite squads, slowly improving with each win until Westbrook returns. When he does in fact get back on the court, this team could change the entire landscape of the NBA for years to come.