On Tuesday, Kevin Durant‘s streak of 25-plus point games ended as the Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Sacramento Kings 107-92. Durant recently stated that he wishes that the streak would end, ending all of the attention that came along with the historic mark.
With the streak now over at 41 games, Durant’s remarks about wanting the streak to end raises an interesting question: did KD purposely do just enough to score below 25 points against the Kings in Tuesday’s win?
After breaking Michael Jordan‘s record of 40 games, Durant could have felt like he had no reason to make a serious attempt at extending the record beyond 41 games. Durant played only 31 minutes on the night due to the Thunder’s large lead after three quarters of play. He also only hoisted up 16 shots, hitting eight. What sticks out the most to me about his statistics is the fact that he only attempted five free throws — his lowest number of attempts since February 11.
The free throw attempts stand out because it may prove that Durant held back a little, making sure that he did not eclipse the 25 points on the night.
Normally, Durant is very aggressive and that translates into a large numbers attempts at the line. He leads the NBA in free throw attempts and makes, so the thought that he held back a little is not totally unbelievable. Even if he gave it his all, which I really doubt, his 23-point performance still looks a bit suspicious after his comments about wanting the streak to end.
Many have tried, but all have failed in their attempts lock Durant down during his remarkable scoring stretch. If anyone were to put an end to it, it would be Durant.
The Thunder need Durant to carry himself as a fiery competitor who wants to break records. They need him to have the same type of fire that propelled players like Kobe Bryant and Jordan to 11 combined NBA Championships. The fact that Durant wanted the streak to end was bad enough. The fact that he may have purposely ended the streak by holding back makes me think that he may not have the competitive edge he needs to win multiple championships.
With the streak now in the rear view mirror, it will be interesting to see what Durant does on the court to finish off the season. The Thunder is in the running for the No. 1 overall seed in the Western Conference. They will need Durant to give it his all on a nightly basis for the remainder of the season, something I am sure we will see as the playoffs near.