Kobe Bryant vs. Kevin Durant: Scoring Race Comes Down to Final Game

Rohit GhoshContributor IIIApril 25, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 10:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers steals the ball from Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first half at Staples Center on April 10, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. The Thunder defeated the Lakers 120-106. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

The scoring duel between Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant will come down to the final day of the regular season (Thursday), as the two are separated by mere decimal points for the top scoring honors. After scoring 32 points last night, Durant is now averaging 27.969 points per game this season, with Bryant close behind at 27.862.

Both players have one game remaining this season: Durant will play at home against the Denver Nuggets tonight and Kobe is on tomorrow night in Sacramento against the Kings.

Here are some scenarios to better explain the situation:

  • If Durant scores 20, Kobe will need 28 to pass him.
  • If Durant scores 25, Kobe will need 32 to pass him.
  • If Durant scores 30, Kobe will need 36 to tie him.
  • If Durant scores 35, Kobe will need 41 to pass him.
  • If Durant scores 40, Kobe will need 45 to pass him.

The incongruity is caused by Bryant playing seven fewer games.

The closest scoring race ever was between George Gervin and David Thompson. Gervin led 26.8 to 26.6 entering the final day of the season. Thompson played first and scored 73 points, getting his average up to 27.15. When it was Gervin's turn, he would put on a show for 63 points, winning the scoring title 27.22-27.15.

Fun Fact: At 23, Durant also would become the youngest player to win three consecutive scoring titles.

The finish between Kobe and Durant might be just as close, and hopefully as prolific; however, it's important to note that neither player has a "mere" scoring title in their "to-do" list. Both are focused on a deep playoff run.

Nevertheless, with the Thunder and Lakers seemingly locked into their playoff spots, it would be entertaining to give both players the green light for the night. Shoot 35-plus times, go for the scoring title.

Bryant said [of the scoring title] that he wasn’t “really tripping about it,” but Durant soon chimed in.

“Nah, I don’t believe him,” Durant said. “That guy, he wants to be No. 1 at everything. I can tell. Just being around him a few times, he wants to be the guy in everything. So of course he cares about the scoring race. It’s not a bad thing don’t get me wrong because that’s the competitive nature of a great player.”

Should be fun to watch.

UPDATE: RT @sam_amick: Mike Brown says Kobe Bryant will not play tonight in Sacramento. Kevin Durant will win his 3rd straight scoring title.

UPDATE: Durant finished tonight with 32 to end with a scoring average of 28.030. If Kobe scores 38 tomorrow, he'll win the scoring title with an average of 28.033.