Now in the memory-making stage of his career, District native Kevin Durant has paying audiences showing up to see if the next night will be another historical performance. Brooklyn Nets fans left Barclays Center disappointed on two fronts on Friday because their team got demolished, 120-95, and Durant also had the longest string of consecutive 30-point games in his career come to an end at 12.
Resting the entire fourth quarter of a non-competitive game, Durant scored 26 points with a startling display that featured a step-back three-pointer after a cross-over dribble, off-balance fadeaways with a hand his face and an alley-oop dunk in which he caught the ball near the square and slammed it as he came down. Durant, Tracy McGrady and Kobe Bryant remain the only players in the past 30 years to score at least 30 points in 12 games. But Durant hardly had an off night after shooting 10 of 12 from the field.
“Thank good he’s not hot coming in here,” Coach Randy Wittman said with a laugh. “That’s why he is who he is – one the best in the league, if not the best right now at this particular moment. It’s a challenge as a team of individuals that you love. Let’s go after it and measure ourselves against the best. That’s how I kind of looked at it as a player when I played against Michael Jordan. I couldn’t compare to him but you want to try to use it as a stepping stone for yourself.”
Wittman said Durant presents so many problems because of his efficiency, ball-handling and unselfishness. He compared the 6-foot-11 former standout from Montrose Christian to another smooth, lanky forward currently in the Hall of Fame.
“He’s got a George Gervin kind of demeanor to him. George couldn’t shoot like he can. You look at him and it looks like he’s going in second gear a lot of times, it looks like. If I had to pick somebody in my time, that’s who I’d pick,” Wittman said. “He’s got the ability to get to the free-throw line. When you get to the free-throw line 11, 12, 13 times, that’s 13 points right there without a shot attempt. That’s what makes him so efficient because of the ability to put the ball on the floor, post up, play on the outside, attack the rim. He’s seven foot. People can say he’s 6-10 or whatever. He’s a legitimate seven foot that can handle the ball and do a lot of things.”
The Wizards (22-23) have won two consecutive home games against Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder. They will also seek revenge for a 106-105 overtime loss on Nov. 10 in Oklahoma City which they blew a 10-point led in the final three minutes.
The Thunder comes to Verizon Center on a 10-game win streak and has gone 15-5 since Russell Westbrook went down with another knee surgery.
“They’re playing good. It’ll be a tough game, obviously. We had a situation at their place earlier in the year that we let get it away,” Wittman said.
(TV: Comcast SportsNet Plus. Radio: WFED-1500).
Here’s some reading to help you get ready for the game: