Thunder's Kevin Durant Comes out of All-Star Break with Historic Lead in Points

Bleacher Report MilestonesB/R StaffFebruary 18, 2014

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 13: Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder looks on against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on February 13, 2014 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. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant has an NBA-best 1,699 points coming out of the All-Star break this season, putting him a whopping 361 points ahead of the New York Knicks' Carmelo Anthony, who had a mere 1,338 points at the break. Durant's 361-point lead is the largest any player has had at the All-Star break since 1972-73, when the Kansas City-Omaha Kings' Nate Archibald had 1,810 points, 421 more than the Milwaukee Bucks' Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1,389).

In addition to his lead in total points, Durant, who has only missed one game this season, comfortably sits atop the league's points-per-game leaderboard. His 31.5 scoring average gives him a massive cushion over Anthony, who is averaging 27.2 points following a lackluster outing against the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday.

While Durant's 31.5 points per game would mark a new career-best if he can maintain that average, the Thunder's star forward is no stranger to his current place atop the league's scoring leaderboard. "The Slim Reaper" topped the NBA in both total points and scoring average in three consecutive seasons, from 2009-10 through 2011-12. His run ended last season, when Anthony led the NBA with 28.7 points per game, while Durant still led in total points (2,280) for a fourth consecutive season.

More remarkable than Durant's impressive scoring numbers is his ability to post those numbers while maintaining elite shooting percentages. Anthony made just 44.9 percent of his field-goal attempts and 37.9 percent of his three-point attempts on the way to last season's scoring title. Durant, on the other hand, has converted 51 percent of his field-goal attempts and 41 percent of his three-pointers this season, approaching his career-best marks in both categories, despite playing without star teammate Russell Westbrook for much of the campaign.

Westbrook's return from a knee injury, which may happen as soon as Thursday, will likely be a positive development for Durant's shooting percentages and a negative development for the forward's scoring average. Still, given his massive lead over Anthony and others, Durant is essentially a sure thing to top the league in points per game. Barring a prolonged injury absence, he'll also lead the NBA in total points for a fifth consecutive season.