Although Chris Paul was the 2013 All-Star Game MVP, Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) showcased his talent once again on the big stage. Durant came into the 62nd NBA All-Star Game as the only player ever to score at least 30 points in consecutive All-Star Games. Then, he extended his NBA-record streak to three contests with a game-high 30 points in the Western Conference’s 143-138 victory.
Three days after the Miami Heat took down the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena, Durant exacted as much revenge as he could by getting the win over the Heat’s ‘Big Three,’ Erik Spoelstra and the rest of the Eastern Conference All-Stars. Durant will not be able to face the defending NBA champions again during this regular season, so it was good for him to finally get some sort of a victory over the Heat for the first time since Game 1 of the 2012 Finals.
With the second-best record in the NBA, Oklahoma City has performed well without James Harden. While Kevin Martin has shouldered some of the load, Durant and Russell Westbrook have had to take on more responsibilities on the offensive end of the floor.
Durant especially has provided his team with more offense in two glaring ways. First, through 53 games in 2012-13, he is averaging an NBA-best 29.2 points per game, 1.2 better than his average in 66 games last season. Second is his impressive propensity to get to the free throw line. Durant is taking 9.3 free throws per game, the second-most of any player this season. In addition, his 90.7% from the line leads the league and would be the best of his career.
Moving forward, the Thunder will need to have Durant saved up for a long playoff run. He is Oklahoma City’s best plus/minus player, and the team’s offense is 11 points better per 100 possessions this season with Durant on the floor compared to him off it. The Thunder’s offensive efficiency is tremendous with him and needs to continue to be if Oklahoma City wants to make it back to the 2013 Finals.