Oklahoma City Thunder superstar Kevin Durant reached the 25-point plateau for the 40th consecutive game on Friday night against the Houston Rockets to tie a mark set by NBA legend Michael Jordan. It's the longest streak of its nature over the past 50 years.
Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders noted the accomplishment, which showcases both elite scoring ability and remarkable consistency:
Kevin Durant has 22 points with 1:15 left. If he has 25 points tonight, it'll tie Michael Jordan for longest such streak in last 50 years.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) April 5, 2014
There it is. Kevin Durant, 25 points. 40 straight games.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) April 5, 2014
Durant barely kept the streak alive against the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday night. He scored 28 points, hitting the 25 mark with less than five minutes to go. Cliff Brunt of the Associated Press (via Yahoo! Sports) passed along his thoughts about the crowd reaction to the streak after the game:
"That was a cool feeling. I don't want to take those moments for granted. It's not what I'm really playing the game for, but it is still cool to see that support from such great fans, no matter what."
Durant barely extended the streak again on Friday night, putting forth a 28-point performance in a 111-107 loss to the Rockets. It was James Harden who stole the show, putting forth a 39-point spectacle.
More importantly to Durant and his Thunder teammates, they defeated the red-hot Spurs to end their winning streak at 19 games. It also allowed Oklahoma City to complete a sweep of the four-game season series with the NBA's top team.
Bleacher Report's Ric Bucher and Howard Beck debate how impressive the accomplishment is:
The fact the Thunder have continued to win while Durant chased Jordan is part of what makes the effort so impressive.
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Often when a player is riding an extended individual streak it starts to take attention away from the team concept. The streak generates far more buzz than the team's results, and when it comes to something like points, it would be easy for Durant to jack up 30 shots per night to keep it going.
That hasn't happened.
He's continued to play within the team concept during the stretch, which has now lasted nearly half of the entire regular season. And the team continues to win as Oklahoma City is the owner of the league's second-best record behind San Antonio.
As mentioned, Durant tied Jordan for the longest streak in the past five decades with his effort against the Rockets. It's not the longest streak in history, though. During Thursday night's game against the Spurs, ESPN on NBA noted that belongs to Wilt Chamberlain, who ran the table during the 80-game season of 1961-62:
After 1, Kevin Durant is on pace for 24 points. He's scored at least 25 in 38 straight games. pic.twitter.com/mUHgxrSxq7— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) April 4, 2014
The scoring streak highlights Durant's best overall season to date. He leads the league in scoring at a shade over 32 points per game, while also chipping in over seven rebounds, five assists and a steal on average. He's also shooting 51 percent from the field.
Looking ahead, the 25-year-old scoring machine has a great chance to capture his first Most Valuable Player award at season's end. He's been knocking on the door in recent years only to get edged by LeBron James.
As for the Thunder, their success against the Spurs makes them a strong choice to make it out of the Western Conference. That's especially true if Durant can maintain his awe-inspiring scoring pace into the postseason.
In the end, anytime you can tie an NBA record held by Michael Jordan, you're doing something right.