Friday, March 2, 2012

LeBron and Durant put up MVP-type games

LeBron James and Kevin Durant put up huge nights Thursday to continue their MVP-type seasons.
Kevin Durant had a big game early Thursday and LeBron James returned serve later that night as two of the biggest stars in the NBA continue their monster seasons. 

In the Miami Heat's 107-93 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers, James put up a stat line that’s never been recorded in the NBA, finishing with 38 points, 11 rebounds, six assists, five steals, a blocked shot and no turnovers. 

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, since individual turnovers were tracked beginning in the 1977-78 season, no NBA player has had a game with 35 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, five steals and no turnovers. 

The Miami Heat have won nine straight games, all by at least 12 points. LeBron’s 2008-09Cleveland Cavaliers are the only other team in NBA history to win nine games in a row, all by at least a dozen. 

This all came after Durant nearly outscored the Orlando Magic by himself in the fourth quarter, helping theOklahoma City Thunder erase an 11-point fourth-quarter lead and win in Orlando for the first time since March 13, 2004. They were the Seattle SuperSonics back then; the franchise had lost seven straight games in Orlando. 
Durant had 18 points in the fourth quarter -- the most he’s scored in any quarter this season -- just three fewer than Orlando scored as a team. 

Oklahoma City ran its win streak to seven games, tying its longest of the season and just two short of its longest since moving to Oklahoma City. 

In his first four NBA games in Orlando, Durant averaged 15.3 points per game and shot less than 32 percent from the field. He was held below 18 points in three of those games -- remember he had 18 in the fourth quarter alone Thursday -- and the SuperSonics/Thunder lost all four. 

He's played in Orlando twice in five days this week, including Sunday’s All-Star Game, and they may not want to invite him back. He averaged 37.0 points and 7.5 rebounds per game in two wins and took home the All-Star Game MVP trophy. 

Orlando led by as many as 14 in this game, but were outscored by 14 in the fourth quarter alone. The Magic shot 32 percent from the floor while the Thunder went 10-for-15 and Durant made five of his six attempts. 

Durant and Russell Westbrook combined for more than half of Oklahoma City’s points (67 of 105), the 19th time they’ve outscored the rest of their teammates this season. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that’s more than any other NBA duo this season. 

It’s been a good formula for the Thunder so far -- they are 14-5 when Durant and Westbrook score more than half the team’s points. The next two duos on the list, Kobe Bryant-Pau Gasol (14) and Bryant-Andrew Bynum (11), have losing records when outscoring their teammates. 

The duos of James-Chris Bosh and James-Dwyane Wade are the only others to do that 10 times this season, and the Heat are 7-3 when each duo outscores the rest of the team.