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Kevin Durant Extends 30-Point Streak for Brooklyn Nets

Durant averaging 37.5 points over last four games

Brooklyn Nets head coach Steve Nash was rolling out the praise of Kevin Durant on Thursday night, and it was nothing new.

“Kevin, he’s just incredible,” said Nash. “His level of play is insane. Efficiency, leading the league in scoring with as few shots as it takes for him to do so is incredible in its own right. Some of the nights he’s had to close games down the stretch, to defend at the rate he’s defended at, you put it all together and it’s an incredible start to the season.”

That was before the game. Before KD went out and did it again. Before 34 points on 54 percent shooting. Before 11 rebounds and eight assists. Before Durant led another ad-hoc Nets rotation to a 114-105 win at Barclays Center.

The play of Brooklyn’s rookie crew, thrown into the fire ahead of Tuesday’s win over Toronto, has been eye-opening and a joy to watch this week. They’ve been filling the boxscore across 48 minutes and been cool in crunch-time. At the head of it all remains Durant, pushing boundaries of greatness.

“I don’t think I had to do anything extra,” said Durant. “I was just being myself. I love playing, I love being out there. The challenge of winning is fun to me, so no matter who’s on the floor, we want to play to win. We’re all passionate about the game. It’s not like I’m the main voice out there. Everybody is talking and communicating. That’s what a team is about and accepting, I wouldn’t call it criticism, but just David Duke giving me a reminder of what I should do on a pick-and-roll, or the same with (Nic Claxton). I think we all are very receptive to what we can do better out there and that makes a team, so it’s much more than my leadership.”

“It’s definitely not something that you can take for granted,” said Claxton. “I think he’s the GOAT. He’s making plays for us, trusting us and he’s just getting the job done and playing a lot of minutes, too, on the offensive end and also on the defensive end. I don’t think he gets enough credit on the defensive end. He’s real active out there, getting blocks and steals. He’s definitely leading us right now.”

Durant on Friday was also named USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year, his third time winning the award. Durant was honored in both 2010 and 2016, sharing the award with Carmelo Anthony in 2016. This past summer, Durant matched Anthony as the only man to win three Olympic basketball gold medals while surpassing Anthony as the leading scorer in US. Men’s Olympic basketball history, extending his career total to 435 points by the end of the gold medal game. After scoring 29 points in the gold medal game win over France, Durant became the first player to score 100 or more points in three Olympics.

Back in Brooklyn, he’s averaging 29.7 points per game to lead the league, on pace for his highest scoring average since his MVP season in 2013-14, when he led the league in scoring for the fourth time in five seasons with 32.0 points per game. Durant is shooting 52.3 percent and averaging 7.9 rebounds and 5.9 assists.

Durant put up 13 points in the fourth quarter to close out the Sixers on Thursday night. After the Sixers had come back to tie the game with under three minutes to go, Durant pulled up for a mid-range jumper. A minute later, tied again at 103, Durant walked the ball upcourt right into a top-of-key 3-pointer, drawing a foul from Tobias Harris for a four-point play. Blake Griffin followed with a 3-pointer as Durant passed out of a double-team and the Nets were up seven with 1:13 to go.

“I kind of said it this summer in a couple interviews he’s the most unaffected basketball player maybe of all time,” said Griffin. “They’ve got some good defenders on that team and he obviously gets everybody’s best defender every night. Double teams, whatever it is. High difficulty shots and he just goes over and shoots it like nobody’s there. It’s demoralizing as a defender because you feel like you’ve done everything you can. You’ve played great defense and he’s still got it.”

Durant’s last three games have included a double-double, a triple-double, and a 51-point night that was the league’s highest scoring game this season.

Over the last four games, Durant is averaging 37.5 points, 9.0 rebounds, and 8.5 assists. He’s surpassed 30 points in each game, giving him a league-leading 13 30-point games this season.

“It’s a challenge knowing how you're going to come into the game because a lot of these teams, they scheme for me a little different,” said Durant. “You know we watch film about how teams play other opponents on defense and I look at that film and think. ‘ahh they might not guard me like that it might be something different.’ So I got to be prepared for anything coming into a game. A team like might trap me as soon as I catch it; they may not trap me. In pick-and-rolls they may trap, sometimes they may play in the drop so I just got to be prepared for anything at any given time so I try not to distract myself with anything else, but just the next possession. That's really my mindset when I step on the floor.”

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