After O.J. Mayo had pegged back the Oklahoma City Thunder with a three-pointer in the final seconds of regulation, Durant stepped up. The Thunder star scored the winning basket with 16.9 seconds remaining in overtime. In the process, he achieved the first 50-point game in the NBA this season.
With Durant’s bucket making the score 116-114, the Thunder held out against a Dallas rally to clinch a narrow victory. The result means their winning streak is now six games, but the post-game focus was squarely on Kevin Durant.
The Thunder small forward, who was voted a starter for the All-Star game on Thursday, dropped 13 of his 31 shots against the Mavericks, including five of his nine three-pointers.
He also chipped in with nine rebounds, while his 52 points against the Mavericks means Durant has bagged at least 41 points in three of his last five games. Little wonder his Thunder team boasts the best record in the NBA, a formidable 32-8.
Perhaps most impressively, Durant hit all 21 of his free throws, a remarkable figure that officially threatened a league record:
Only player to make more FT without a miss than Durant’s 21 on Friday was Dominique Wilkins – 23-23 in a game in 1992
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 19, 2013
Speaking after the game to ESPN, Durant said:
“Experience has helped me a lot. If I look like I’m out there panicking, my teammates will look at me and feel the same way. I’ve got to be cool. If I miss a shot, so be it. I’m sure opportunity will come back around sooner or later.”
Does this latest scoring feat mean Kevin Durant now leads the 2013 MVP race? Let us know in the comments below (but not before enjoying Durant’s winning basket below):