After overcoming some early-season tumult, Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant is playing at a level that is reminiscent of his 2014 MVP campaign.
The 12-time All-Star dropped 45 points to help lead the Nets to a 109-102 win over the Orlando Magic at Barclays Center on Monday night. Durant shot an efficient 19-of-24 from the field and added seven rebounds, five assists, two steals and two blocks.
The Nets had gotten off to a 1-5 start and eventually parted ways with head coach Steve Nash. Now that the team has found some stability under new head coach Jacque Vaughn, Durant is playing with a freedom and joy that hasn't been seen from him in recent years. He toyed with Magic defenders and dictated the offensive flow for Brooklyn.
NBA Twitter lit up with excitement over Durant's vintage performance on Monday:
Tim Reynolds @ByTimReynolds
Kevin Durant is the 14th-oldest player to score 45.<br><br>39: Michael Jordan, Jamal Crawford<br>38: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar<br>37: Kobe Bryant, LeBron James<br>36: Shaquille O'Neal, Karl Malone<br>35: Larry Bird, Alex English<br>34: Stephen Curry, Pau Gasol, Bernard King, Hakeem Olajuwon, Kevin Durant
Durant entered Monday ranked seventh in the league with 29.3 points per game. He has now dropped over 30 points in each of his last three games, showing he's still capable of scoring explosions at any time.
The Nets (11-11) will continue to ride Durant's shoulders when they host the Washington Wizards (11-10) on Wednesday.