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Thursday night NBA grades: Kevin Durant is good at basketball

Dec 20, 2013, 4:47 AM EDT

Oklahoma City Thunder v Atlanta Hawks Getty Images

Our quick look around the NBA, or what you missed while watching my Long Beach State 49ers beat USC (at least that’s what I did with part of my night)

source:  Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder. He led his team to an easy win and how about this for a line: 32 points on 13-of-20 shooting, 4-of-5 from three, nine rebounds, six assists and three steals. But really why he is here with the high grade is something Royce Young pointed out on twitter: In his last four games Durant is averaging 30.3 points on 60.8 percent shooting overall, 64.7 percent from three, plus he’s at 90.9 percent from the free throw line. His true shooting percentage in that time is 72.7 percent. Flat. Out. Ridiculous.

source:  Marco Belinelli, San Antonio Spurs. San Antonio’s front office is amazing in its ability to identify guys they can plug into their system who will excel. Belinelli is this year’s find. He came off the bench to score 28 points on 10-of-16 shooting in this one, including going 4-of-8 from three. He had 17 of those points in the third quarter. Somebody had to step up with Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili out and Belinelli was the guy.

source:   Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors. This is the kind of game the Warriors need to win to be taken seriously as contenders. Curry put up good numbers — 30 points and 15 assists — but he needed 28 shots to get those points and he had five turnovers. He did hit a key three late to tie and overall Curry was good, but not great on a night they needed him to be.

  1. muhangis - Dec 20, 2013 at 5:11 AM


    This def is not the first time I noticed this: I took (wasted) a chunk of my time writing a lengthy reply comment, and the comment only appears if/when I’m signed in. If I’m logged-out, the comment does not appear on the page. [And I def know for sure I did not write a bad or vulgar comment!]

    They are trying to censor us for no reason, and fool us at the same time!

    What the hell is up with this, Helin???

    • Kurt Helin - Dec 20, 2013 at 5:30 PM

      The rules for posting are the same on all the NBC blog sites. The writers do not determine what is held for moderation. We are not trying to censor what you are saying. Honestly, I am the only one who checks the comments and that is simply to approve moderated comments and to delete foul language and the like.

  2. muhangis - Dec 20, 2013 at 5:12 AM

    I am referring to a comment I wrote in the last Kobe Bryant post. This is not the first time I have noticed this!

  3. fanofevilempire - Dec 20, 2013 at 8:14 AM

    I think that ALL the experts better start taking another look because Durant is becoming
    the best player in the NBA, the only argument against him being the best player in the
    world is a championship and I remember a guy who played in Cleveland that won MVP
    and the label of best player in the world without a championship, so there goes that argument.

    • redbaronx - Dec 22, 2013 at 12:40 PM

      @fanofevilempire – When talking about Durant being the best player in the NBA, you’re forgetting that guy in Miami. Being the best isn’t just about offensive numbers. LeBron on defense, running the offense, court vision and mismatches gives Miami another dimension that doesn’t show on the stat sheet. Durant arguably has a better team around him with Westbrook playing at a better level than Wade at this point in his career, and with the exception of Bosh the rest of Miami’s roster isn’t anything special.

      This isn’t to knock Durant, but LeBron gives Miami that edge right now that makes them tough to beat as champions.

  4. sportsfan18 - Dec 20, 2013 at 10:31 AM

    First, I’m an MJ fan, not a LeBron or a Kobe fan.

    Of the players today, I root for Durant and so want him to become the MVP and knock LeBron down a peg as I fear LeBron will continue on and pass MJ in many things.

    BUT, it has to be earned and not given.

    LeBron, as much as I don’t care for him, still is the best player in the league.

    He’s led the league in PER for the last 6 consecutive seasons and he is doing so again.

    Durant is beginning to shoot better as he’s not shot well overall for the year. He is still a tad below 50% from the field this season compared to .510% last season.

    LeBron is only a bit under 60% from the field this season! LeBron has increased his shooting percentage from the field for the past SIX consecutive seasons and he is doing so again so far this yr.

    AND it’s not like LeBron began with a low FG% 7 seasons ago when he began his run of increasing it all those yrs ago.

    7 seasons ago, his FG% was .476% and he’s increased it the last 6 seasons and has again so far this season.

    Many say Kobe had a great offensive season last yr and he did. Kobe shot .463% from the field last yr and that is good for him as it is ABOVE his career FG%.

    Yet LeBron “ONLY” shot .476% 7 seasons ago (something KOBE has never done. Kobe has never actually shot 47% from the field, only a rounded 47%).

    Back to Durant. Right now, his career FG% is only .476% or what LeBron shot 7 seasons ago and has raised each year since.

    Now one thing in Durant’s favor all these years was true shooting percentage. Even with LeBron improving, Durant has had a higher true shooting percentage every season and for their careers…

    BUT, this season, LeBron has a much higher true shooting percentage.

    So, instead of maintaining a lead over LeBron and trying to catch and surpass him in other categories, Durant is actually FALLING behind LeBron this yr in a stat he’s always beaten him in.

    He’s going the wrong way to overtake LeBron.

    Durant has NEVER had a PER of 29 for any season and he doesn’t so far this season.

    LeBron has been at 29 or higher in 5 out of the last 6 seasons and is right now at 29.9. If he finishes at 30.0 or higher, it will be the 5th out of the last 7 seasons LeBron has finished with a PER of 30 or higher.

    Again, I WANT Durant to win the MVP, but I want him to earn it, not for it to just be given to him.

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