A Month of Arachnophobia: Kevin Durant Sets the NBA on Fire
USA Today Sports
It doesn’t get much better than that, does it? The NBA couldn’t defend him this month: no great individual defender, no team scheme, no nothing. For the first month of 2014, every professional basketball player/coach feared dealing with the best scorer in our game: the one and only Kevin Durant – the Durantula.
Everyone knows about the 12 straight games with at least 30 points (a streak that ended as a result of a blowout, not a successful defense). And you probably have heard that he averaged 35.9 points for the month (the fourth highest scoring month since the merger), that he tallied his third career 50-plus point effort and the he led the Thunder to 13 wins in 17 games despite the absence of their elite point guard. But those common facts aren’t winning you points at the water cooler; they simply verify that you have not been living under a rock. The following ten tidbits, however, will make you the most insightful Durant fan around (*all statistics through January 31st).
In January, Kevin Durant …
… had eight games where he totaled at least 30 points, five rebounds, and five assists. Paul George and LeBron James (the other two players I’d include in the NBA’s top three) have combined for eight such games this season.
… amassed 575 points in 16 games. Goran Dragic scored 218 fewer points (37.9% less) this month, but still managed to rank among the top ten January scorers.
… made 189 shots from the field, the same number that one time teammate James Harden has made all season long. Professional shot taker J.R. Smith attempted just 160 shots in January.
… made 44 three pointers; a total that would rank him among the top 100 three point shooters in the league this season, ahead of players like Rudy Gay and Chris Paul.
… knocked down multiple triples in 12 games. Ray Allen, the greatest marksman we have ever seen, has ten such games over the last two months.
… made 153 free throws. For reference, Brandon Jennings has made and Dwyane Wade has attempted just 140 all season long.
… shot 65.6% in his final four home games. Carmelo Anthony has reached that percentage in only one home game all season (his 62 point effort).
… recorded 97 assists, the same number as Mike Conley, a point guard who is counted on for his ability to set up his teammates and is having his second best season in terms of assist-to-turnover ratio.
… played at least 40 minutes nine times. All-Star DeMarcus Cousins has nine such games since the beginning of last season.
… 60 turnovers this month, more than Jose Calderon has this season (55). That being said, KD’s 575 points are more than Calderon has scored this season and more than the cautious point guard totaled in the entire 2011-12 season for the Raptors.