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Wednesday night NBA grades: I, for one, welcome our new Kevin Durant overlord

Jan 30, 2014, 2:08 AM EDT

Oklahoma City Thunder vs Miami Heat Getty Images

Our quick look around the NBA, or what you missed while freaking out about how much time you wasted on Facebook….

source:  Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder. What is there left to say? Call him KD like he prefers, call him the Slim Reaper, call him whatever you want just make sure you add MVP race leader to the sentence. Durant got his first half points mostly in transition as LeBron James and the Heat defense made things tough, but in the second half Durant was the guy we have watched the last dozen games (the streak for 30+ is up to that) — he drained a 27 foot three to silence the crowd when Miami threatened a run. Then he drained shots from everywhere this side of Epcot Center on his way to 33 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists to lead the Thunder to their ninth straight win. Durant is playing the best ball of his career right now, and that is saying something.

source:  Rudy Gay, Sacramento Kings. This is not just about his 23 points on 16 shots (although that is a good night), rather it’s that his 23rd point gives him 10,000 for his NBA career. We’ve poked fun at Gay’s efficiency in the past (he’s been much better in Sacramento) but the guy can score and 10,000 points in the NBA is a milestone to be celebrated.

source:  Kyle Lowry, Toronto Raptors. Too bad the voting is already done because Lowry made his “put me on the All-Star team” statement against the Magic with 33 points, 11 assists and 7 rebounds. He was on fire in the first quarter with 17 points on 8 shots. As for getting his ticket punched for New Orleans, he either makes the team or is one of the guys talked about as a snub — he’s right on the bubble.

source:  Al Jefferson, Charlotte Bobcats. While you haven’t been watching Al Jefferson has been playing well — he’s averaged 26.9 points a game on 55.7 percent shooting, plus 11.9 rebounds a game his last 10 games — and against the Nuggets he had 35 point points on ¬ not many doubles were coming and Jefferson made the Nuggets pay for that.

 

  1. senorpapino - Jan 30, 2014 at 2:14 AM

    Right now, Durant is the best player in the world. He would have had a dozen assists if Ibaka made the jumpers early.

  2. belleby123 - Jan 30, 2014 at 7:01 AM

    And nothing on the Bulls beating San Antonio in San Antonio. Ho hum.

    • fanofthegame79 - Jan 30, 2014 at 7:11 AM

      Or nothing on LeBron virtually matching Durant point-for-point (LeBron actually outscored KD 34-33), and he did it on 60% shooting. I can concede that KD is playing great and is the odds on favorite to win the MVP race this year. But last night was a wash between LeBron and Durant and we’re not getting that by this write-up.

      • belleby123 - Jan 30, 2014 at 7:14 AM

        But this is bad news for the Heat. LeBron isn’t supposed to be a one man show–that was Cleveland. I will say one thing, though: LeBron was comparing himself to Durant and he sure showed how valid that comparison is even when Durant is playing at his best.

      • pudgalvin - Jan 30, 2014 at 8:38 AM

        Could Lebron have had the game that Durant had last night with Lebron being guarded by Lebron? You’ll get no disagreement from me that Lebron is the best player on the planet, but Durant put up those numbers against the best wing defender in the league. Lebron put his up against Perry Jones. I think that’s why Durant was so impressive last night. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Lebron so frustrated. He threw his best defensive effort (which he probably doesn’t do every night) at KD, and there was nothing he could do about it.

      • bucrightoff - Jan 30, 2014 at 8:48 AM

        Funny story, LeBron isn’t the best player on the planet anymore. Unless you only watched last night, Durant has been that guy for most of this season.

      • pudgalvin - Jan 30, 2014 at 9:00 AM

        Come on dude. Lebron James is my all time least favorite athlete, beating out such notables as John Starks, Brett Farve and Bill Laimbeer, but 25 games in the middle of the season doesn’t change what Lebron is. As noted, he still basically matched what Durant did last night, he just didn’t have Derrick Fisher banking in 3’s at a 100% clip. Nobody outside of OKC wants Durant to knock off Lebron in June than I do, but until that happens, Lebron is still number 1.

      • asimonetti88 - Jan 30, 2014 at 11:18 AM

        If last night was a wash between LeBron and Durant, why did Durant’s team come away with the win?

      • fanofthegame79 - Jan 30, 2014 at 5:15 PM

        Because it’s a team game. The Thunder bench doubled the score of the Heat bench.

  3. davidly - Jan 30, 2014 at 7:32 AM

    Yeah, I’d say LBJ matches Durant’s A. The “+” should go to Lamb & Fish with a side o’ Sefolosha.

  4. jbeagles23 - Jan 30, 2014 at 7:34 AM

    Kyle Lowry is the best pg in the east right now

    • pudgalvin - Jan 30, 2014 at 8:40 AM

      Lot of thumbs down for that, but who else are you guys taking? Guy’s playing crazy good right now.

      • cruzan80 - Jan 30, 2014 at 11:29 AM

        Thats exactly what I thought…..cant think of not one PG in the east whos playing better than him.

  5. sprest83 - Jan 30, 2014 at 8:18 AM

    Who comes up with the list. Dirk had 38 points 17 rebounds in 35 minutes…on 15-21 shooting.

    • ihatecomingupwiththesenames - Jan 30, 2014 at 10:04 AM

      Agreed. Dirk can’t get mentioned in this? That’s an oversight PBT…

  6. savvybynature - Jan 30, 2014 at 8:47 AM

    Lowry is on the bubble? What guard in the East is more deserving?
    Maybe I’m forgetting someone, but he has been better this season than D. Wade, John Wall or Kyrie Irving. Who else is there? Granted the East is totally pathetic this year, but that ain’t Lowry’s fault. The man deserves recognition.

  7. reesesteel23 - Jan 30, 2014 at 8:58 AM

    “KD is the best in the world now”
    “Lebron has nothing on KD”

    So now everyone at PFT(not a heat fan) wants to jump back on the KD OKC bandwagon? No, 80%(if not more) of you counted them out as if they would be a non-factor this season…….talk about bandwagon….don’t jump ship now.

    KD’s been this good since day 1

    • reesesteel23 - Jan 30, 2014 at 8:59 AM

      PBT whatever this place is called

  8. money2long - Jan 30, 2014 at 9:33 AM

    look mom, straight A’s

  9. mp8441 - Jan 30, 2014 at 9:55 AM

    If 10,000 points is something to be celebrated, then what does 26,000 points get you on this page??

    “Nowitzki, who became the 13th player in NBA history to score 26,000 career points late in the first half against the Houston Rockets”

    (The man is never given enough credit… people just take him for granted)

  10. cmehustle - Jan 30, 2014 at 3:57 PM

    I always been in the Al Jefferson only puts up numbers on bad teams crowd. Great game between Lebron and Durant. Hope thats the finals matchup. Or at least Durant, I can do without Lebron this year again.

  11. erking1991 - Jan 30, 2014 at 4:07 PM

    Lowry deserves to be the East Starter at PG. Kyrie is the most overrated player in the NBA this coming from a Cleveland fan. Dreadful defense and horrible vision/ball movement on a nightly basis. All he does is make SC with fancy highlights but he’s a terrible team player.

  12. antistratfordian - Jan 30, 2014 at 7:06 PM

    Durant did not have an A+ game… and he missed more shots than he made against LeBron. And KD didn’t start making shots against LeBron until the pressure was off him to score, after the Thunder had a double digit lead. Before that he had no desire to do anything in ISO against James.

    Plus, KD didn’t defend LeBron the entire game, unlike what James did against KD, so for that alone you’d have to downgrade his grade.

    Fisher and Lamb deserve the A+. If they don’t combine for 9-11 from deep they probably don’t win this game.

    • belleby123 - Jan 31, 2014 at 9:27 AM

      Wow, a double digit lead takes the pressure off you when you’re playing the Heat? How bad a team are they?

      • antistratfordian - Jan 31, 2014 at 3:15 PM

        Yes, it does. If they were down double digits, as they were earlier, Durant would not be waving off picks and forcing up those ISO jumpers. He’s a smart guy who is aware of what constitutes wise shot selection under certain circumstances. This is why you didn’t see KD try to do anything so brash when they were down 18.

      • belleby123 - Jan 31, 2014 at 3:42 PM

        Wow, I actually agree with you about the part where Durant is smart and has good shot selection. However, I don’t think that the Heat are as crappy as you say, and that a double digit lead is enough to change your tactics. When you get to about 20 or so against the Heat then you can let up a little.

      • antistratfordian - Jan 31, 2014 at 4:04 PM

        Durant is also fond of showboating and chucking under the right circumstances – and he referenced his Rucker Park chuckery after this game, which is appropriate considering his selection here.

        In any case, the Thunder had just come from down 18 to go up 16 in that quarter. It was a huge swing and they had successfully held off Miami’s charge for the entire 3rd and were still up 14 by the time this transpired. So by this point every single bit of momentum was with Oklahoma City – which was obvious to everybody, right? Right.

        You’re not going to see Durant be so brazen in a tighter game, which is perfectly understandable for any scorer – this is not unique to KD.

  13. ranfan12 - Jan 31, 2014 at 7:26 PM

    OKC ripped the heat a new whole when they were coming up on a 30 point blowout

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