Los Angeles Lakers legend Magic Johnson seems to think the race is already over. And who can blame him after Durant's ridiculous performance north of the border?
Kevin Durant scoring 51 points tonight sealed the deal on the NBA MVP race.— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) March 22, 2014
The big night was punctuated by a game-winning three from well beyond the line that sent the Thunder to a 119-118 double-overtime win over the Toronto Raptors:
And speaking of lines, Durant's was preposterous:
#StatLineOfTheNight goes to Kevin Durant. KD's 51 pts, capped by a game-winning 3 in 2OT, + his 12r, 7a, 1s & 1b, were simply superb.— NBA.com/Stats (@nbastats) March 22, 2014
Kevin Durant is first player to reach 51 points, 12 rebounds, 7 assists in a game since Michael Jordan did it in 1992. (via @ESPNStatsInfo)— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) March 22, 2014
It's performances like this one that set Durant apart. And you'll notice "performance" was pluralized. OKC's superstar is making a habit of individually blowing people away this season:
.@KDTrey5 currently has 5 of the 8 highest point totals by a player this season (54, 51, 48, 48, 46)— NBA.com/Stats (@nbastats) March 22, 2014
The only other player who might be able to catch KD at this point is LeBron James, but it's hard to argue he means more to his team than Durant does.
If for some reason you still thought the MVP needed debating, Kevin Durant pretty much put that to bed.— Royce Young (@royceyoung) March 22, 2014
Statistical arguments don't favor LeBron either, though it's still close:
The only other thing Durant can do to leave no doubt would be leading his Thunder past the San Antonio Spurs in the standings for the No. 1 spot in the Western Conference. OKC is just 1.5 games back, and Durant has 13 more games until the regular-season finish line in what should be his first MVP campaign.
Further, OKC's lead man may need to play without three-time All-Star Russell Westbrook going forward, even though the point guard told The Oklahoman (via ESPN) after the game that he was "pain-free" after leaving Friday's game in the third quarter with a knee sprain.
Andy Bailey covers the NBA for Bleacher Report.