NEW YORK – NBA scoring leader Kevin Durant’s streak of games with 30 or more points ended at 12 on Friday but only because Oklahoma City routed the Brooklyn Nets 120-95.
With former US President Bill Clinton in attendance, Durant scored 26 points while Serge Ibaka added 25 on 12-of-12 shooting as the Thunder win streak reached 10 games.
“That’s the most important streak,” Durant said. “I would much rather take the win.”
Durant was pulled from the game with 75 seconds remaining in the third quarter and the Thunder leading 87-58.
Oklahoma City simply didn’t need him in the fourth quarter as the Thunder improved to an NBA-best 38-10 while he watched from the bench for the last 13 minutes of a rout.
“Man I’m glad that’s over,” Durant said of the streak. “I would much rather take the win… That streak was good while it lasted but that was the least of my concerns.”
Durant hit 10-of-12 shots from the field, including 3-of-3 from 3-point range, and was 3-of-3 at the free throw line.
“If he cared about the streak, he should have made those two shots. He can’t blame that on me,” joked Thunder coach Scott Brooks.
“I guess you can say in the last 13 games, I’m the only one who can stop him from scoring 30.”
Durant’s run of games with 30 or more points was the third-longest in the NBA over the past 30 years, eclipsed only by Tracy McGrady’s run of 14 and Kobe Bryant’s 16 in a row, both from 2003.
“It doesn’t even matter to him,” Brooks said. “He’s a team guy. It’s about winning. I would never ask him to go back in the game.
“He’s going to be in this league for a long time and he’s probably going to get another streak like this. It’s not like he had a bad game.”
Durant had 11 points in both the first and second quarters and helped the Thunder stretch the lead as large as 75-43 in the third quarter against a team that beat them 95-93 at Oklahoma City on January 2.
“I wasn’t trying to force anything,” Durant said. “It’s easy for me to try and force it and keep the streak alive but we needed this win because they beat us last time.
“We’re trying to build habits here and get better every single day. We’ve got a lot of confidence. The only way we are going to get better is if we continue to play the right way.”
The Nets’ total of 17 rebounds was the fewest in a game in NBA history, one less than the old mark set by Detroit against Charlotte in 2001.
It came in part because the Thunder connected on 63.6 percent of their shots, the best accuracy percentage by any NBA team in a game this season.
And this was coming off a Thunder victory at reigning NBA champion Miami on Wednesday.
“We just caught a hot OKC team,” said Nets forward Joe Johnson. “Not only Durant, their whole team is in a pretty good rhythm.”
But what Durant is doing halfway into the season is spectacular even to his rivals.
“Crazy. What he’s doing right now is just crazy,” Brooklyn’s Deron Williams said. “It’s going to be hard to argue about the MVP (Most Valuable Player) of this league with what he’s doing right now. He’s one of the best I’ve ever seen.”
The Nets, whose 63-35 half-time deficit was their largest of the season, fell to 20-24.