Kevin Durant entered Friday night's contest against the Houston Rockets aiming to find his way into the company of legends.
After 39 consecutive games of scoring at least 25 points, just one more was needed to tie all-time great Michael Jordan's streak of 40. NBA Stats tweeted the impending phenomenon:
Make it 39 straight games with 25+points for @KDTrey5. 1 shy of tying Jordan ('86-87) for the longest such streak in the last 50 years— NBA.com/Stats (@nbastats) April 4, 2014
Despite losing 111-107 to the Rockets, Durant reached his goal in thrilling fashion. After a couple of late-game threes, he recorded a total of 28 points, 12 rebounds and six assists on the game.
However, it didn't start smoothly for Durant on Friday. He had difficulty finding good looks due to the defensive prowess of Chandler Parsons, according to a tweet from ESPN Stats and Info:
Kevin Durant is 1-5 when guarded by Chandler Parsons with just 4 pts— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) April 5, 2014
The Houston Rockets' official Twitter account highlighted the team's focus on stopping Durant early in the game:
The Rockets have been putting bodies on Durant every time down the floor. Durant only has 4pts & he's upset at Garcia. #Rockets by 10.— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) April 5, 2014
At the half, Durant had only connected on two of seven attempts from the floor, including missing both attempts from behind the arc, but made all five of his free throws for nine points.
It was certainly looking bleak for his chances of tying Jordan. Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders was left wondering if Durant could rebound in the second half, according to this tweet:
Kevin Durant has just 9 points at halftime. Will his 25-point streak end tonight, when he would've hit 40 games and tied Michael Jordan?— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) April 5, 2014
The second half started fast for Durant, as he connected on a jumper to boost his total to 11 points on the Thunder's first possession.
Durant added a couple more buckets and finished the third quarter with 17. The record was within reach, but he still had work left to do. NBA's official Twitter account laid down the numbers:
End 3Q: OKC 84, HOU 82. Good one brewing! Ibaka w/ 23-6-4 +5b; Durant w/ 17-7-6. Harden has been huge w/ 28-5-7. Watch 4Q on @ESPN— NBA (@NBA) April 5, 2014
After missing a free throw with 1:30 remaining in the fourth quarter to put Durant within two points of tying Jordan's mark, it looked bleak for the Thunder forward.
Durant would not be denied.
Shortly after, he nailed a three, effectively hitting the 25-point mark and earning a place among legends.
Twitter was set ablaze.
ESPN's Twitter account kicked things off with a caricature:
Kevin Durant has scored 25+ pts in 40 straight games. Only 1 other player has done that in the last 50 years: MJ pic.twitter.com/5Zxi6RrzSg— ESPN (@espn) April 5, 2014
Bleacher Report's Twitter account was spot on as well:
Kevin Durant hits a 3 to tie Michael Jordan's record with 40 straight games with 25+ points! pic.twitter.com/3KaQ832Bcb— Bleacher Report NBA (@BR_NBA) April 5, 2014
Fox Sports Live tweeted out a fantastic graphic:
BOOM. Kevin Durant now ties Michael Jordan for the most consecutive 25-point games in the last 50 seasons at 40! pic.twitter.com/ALQvcH6fbF— FOX Sports Live (@FOXSportsLive) April 5, 2014
The Thunder's official Twitter account let it be known where Durant stands in the all-time rankings:
28 pts for KDurant. 25+ in 40 straight. Ties him w/ MJordan for 3rd on all-time list in single season behind ORobertson and WChamberlain— OKC THUNDER (@okcthunder) April 5, 2014
Durant's prowess was on display—even when he has an off game—as NBA Guru tweets:
Even in a loss in which he didn’t play that well by his standards, Durant still putting up video game numbers (28-12-6). Guy is pretty good.— NBA Guru (@NBAGuru) April 5, 2014
Durant's performance may have overshadowed the fact that the Rockets are now playoff-bound. However, that didn't get past Chamillionaire, according to this tweet:
Not tonight Durant!!! H-Town!!! Playoffs!— Chamillionaire (@chamillionaire) April 5, 2014
Jeopardy Sports pretty much summed up Durant's night with this tweet:
Durant now continues his race for MVP honors and a 41st consecutive game at 25 points when the Thunder take on the Phoenix Suns on Saturday.
Phoenix is allowing an average of 102.8 points per game this season, which is good enough to rank 22nd in the league. The last time these teams met, Durant put up 34 points in a 128-122 Suns victory.
It should be safe to expect similar numbers this time around, as Durant attempts to pass Jordan with yet another remarkable performance.