He had 23.
The streak ended at 41 games, surpassing a mark set by Michael Jordan and entering a realm not seen since the days of Wilt. It was as impressive as it was long, spanning the entire duration of February and March.
Durant didn't especially need another milestone to bolster his scoring credentials, but it certainly can't hurt. The 25-year-old MVP favorite is averaging over 32 points on the season and putting his stamp on yet another successful campaign for the Oklahoma City Thunder.
All things considered, this was probably the best possible way it could have ended. It wasn't because of stout defense or a lockdown stopper. It was because the Thunder are just too good, putting the Kings away with enough time to rest Durant for the remainder of the game.
With just five games until the playoffs begin, not even history could persuade head coach Scott Brooks to keep his superstar in any longer than necessary. As the team aims to return to the NBA Finals for the second time in three years, getting some rest was clearly more important.
The Thunder currently sit three and a half games behind the first-place San Antonio Spurs and will look to continue to make up ground in the season's waning days. Though resting Durant and fellow superstar Russell Westbrook will still be a priority, home-court advantage throughout the postseason certainly wouldn't hurt.
Meanwhile, Durant will forget all about the streak and get back to business. As far as he's concerned, it's probably about time to do just that.
And now it is.
Earlier in March (when the streak was at 32 games), Brooks noted that Durant's carefree attitude about personal accolades was part of what made him so special (per The Oklahoman's Darnell Mayberry):
What impresses me the most is two things, his consistency and his ability not to worry about it. I know when I had a three-game streak of four (points), I was worried about that fourth game. I had to make my first shot. He’s not worried about it. He’s worried about playing hard and playing the correct way and finding ways to help his team win. That’s what he’s done. He’s an amazing leader and he’s so consistent.
There's little doubt he'll continue to be just as consistent now that the streak is in the history books. The especially hot shooting couldn't come at a better time with the Thunder entering the postseason. OKC will need Durant firing on all cylinders in an extremely competitive Western Conference.
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