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The Time Needs to Be Now for Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 27:  Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder shoots a free throw during the game against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on January 27, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.  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 Harry How/Getty Images)
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Nigel BroadnaxCorrespondent IFebruary 6, 2013

Kevin Durant has been the NBA darling for more than three seasons now. His tremendous basketball skills and laid-back personality make him arguably the most likable guy in the league. Everyone loves Durant, and he can do no wrong in our eyes.

This might change slightly in a few months, however.

The urgency for Durant and his Oklahoma City Thunder to win a championship will really start to kick in if they don't accomplish that this season.

The Thunder are enjoying another great season, but if they fall short of winning it all again, critics will be heavy on Durant's case to get them over the hump.

Coming out of this season ringless would place the three-time scoring champ where the Miami Heat's LeBron James was in 2010—where onlookers are fed up with the regular-season achievements being racked up and are expecting the league's biggest prize.

The 24-year-old Durant is in good position to win his first MVP award and is steadily fighting his way into James' class, while enjoying his best statistical season.

The Thunder have had one of the league's best records in each of the last two seasons and are on pace to do so this year. Durant's elite play and continued improvement along with his team's regular-season success are the root of people's high expectations.

If the Thunder do not win in June, the pressure will be on Durant to get it done from that point on, even if it isn't his fault they lose. Unfortunately, that is the curse that comes with the blessing of being that good.

The Thunder seem to be giving off a championship vibe this season. It feels like it's their championship to lose come June.

If Kevin Durant can't get the monkey off his back this year, then it will only get heavier until he does.

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