With their win tonight against the Chicago Bulls, the Oklahoma City Thunder are just one more win away from winning 50 games this season. The Thunder are still second best in the west though with the San Antonio Spurs holding onto the coveted top seed.
Tonight Kevin Durant played another impressive game scoring 35 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. This was his 32nd consecutive game scoring 25 or more points, which places this scoring streak behind Michael Jordan’s personal best record. Jordan’s longest scoring streak of this kind was set at 40 games, and he did it back in the 86-87 season.
Durant needs to score 25 or more points during the next 8 games to tie the record and 9 games to break it. He is capable, obviously, but the schedule for the next 9 games isn’t easy with 4 of the 9 teams currently seeded for the playoffs.
Durant also can’t do it alone. He will need the help of his teammates to take the defensive pressure off of him. When Durant’s teammates score it frees up space for him to work his magic.
With 3 other players on the Thunder averaging double digit points and specifically, Russell Westbrook, averaging over 20 points a game, Durant is getting the help he needs to break the record.
Westbrook is very important to the Thunders success as a whole and to Durant’s scoring streak. He suffered a knee injury during last season’s first round playoff matchup against the Houston Rockets. The injury sidelined Westbrook for the first half of this regular season and the team has him resting his knee during certain games.
During the next 9 games the Thunder will likely have Westbrook rest at least a couple of them. This will add more pressure to Durant to score while more defensive attention is being paid to him. Durant has all the ability in the world to make shots, but without his teams second best player the road to breaking Jordan’s record will be more difficult.
Breaking the greatest basketball player of all times record would be a great achievement, but Durant and the Thunder would gladly abandon this streak if it at all interfered with the ultimate goal: winning the NBA championship.
It will be exciting to watch the next 9 Thunder games. When a record like this is being chased it is added excitement to an already exciting season. The MVP race, the possibility of earning the number one seed, breaking Jordan’s record, and the ultimate quest to win the NBA championship make these last 15 games of the season worth watching.