When Russell Westbrook had to go under the knife again and was lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder until after the All-Star break, I was doubtful that the Thunder would be able to keep pace in the loaded Western Conference. Between the Blazers, Spurs, Warriors, Clippers, Rockets… you get the idea — missing your star point guard/second scoring threat seemed like it could derail OKC’s top-four seed hopes.
Lesson learned: never, ever count out a team with Kevin Durant on it.
KD is the middle of an incredible scoring stretch, having dropped 30 points in seven straight games including 54 (a career high) against the Warriors on Friday. He’s also dishing it out, and grabbing boards, and basically doing an extended version of Marshawn Lynch’s Beast Mode run, in which he puts the team firmly on his back (doe) and runs the ball into the endzone time and again.
Throughout the week, there have been a ton of weird, non-news stories about LeBron James and Durant being “jealous” or “inspired” or something of one another. We won’t talk about that here. But let’s put it this way: Durant is now my frontrunner for MVP. Whether or not LeBron is coasting or the Heat are conserving energy or other guys are like Paul George are having career years — Durant is doing it all, and needs to be recognized for it.
As for the rest of the league?