If Kevin Durant had any chance of winning the scoring title for the fourth consecutive time, he probably needs someone to tell Russell Westbrook to stop shooting so much, although it probably wouldn’t help even if Scott Brooks, the head coach of the Oklahoma City Thudner if someone forgot, would go and scream it in his ear.
Despite the rumor spreading around about Durant really caring about his individual scoring numbers, the man who’ll finish second in the MVP voting for a second consecutive season looked like he doesn’t really care sharing the ball, as long as the Thunder win and remain close to the San Antonio Spurs in the chase after the top spot in the West (the Thunder are now 0.5 games behind). Meanwhile, they also possibly ruined a thing or two for the Utah Jazz with their 90-80 win in Salt Lake City.
Durant finished with 21 points, taking only 10 shots (making 6 of them), while adding 12 rebounds and 9 assists in one of those all-around excellent efforts, just to show how far he’s come this season. It seemed the Jazz were intent on stopping Durant and trying to force him to hand the ball over to Westbrook to try and win the game. Despite a less than impressive 8-21 from the field, the point guard only by description led the way with 25 points, including a big steal in the final seconds of the game as the Jazz made noises of a comeback.
And despite the very good offense of Serge Ibaka (16 points) and the extremely surprising contribution of Thabo Sefolosha, scoring 12, it was their defense on the Jazz, forcing Mo Williams, Randy Foye and Gordon Hayward to shoot a bad 39% from the field, while Paul Millsap against Serge Ibaka in the paint, with the Thunder’s big man finishing the game with 5 blocks.
The Thunder enjoyed a very depleted Jazz squad, playing without Enes Kanter and Marvin Williams, but it made no difference. Despite some of their flaws heading into the postseason, against most of the league they’re simply too good to be bothered, mostly because of their ability to shift into another gear defensively in crunch time, while having two of the most talented scores on the planet, with the better of them not minding sharing the spotlight with his reckless half.