In a world where those who finish second are often forgotten, it only seems right to compare a man who is tired of finishing second, with the man who he has often finished second to. Kevin Durant and LeBron James. Except more specifically, the two historic streaks that these NBA juggernauts have recently cemented in the NBA.
Kevin Durant (KD) had an absolute sizzling month of January. Which included a streak of 12 consecutive games with scoring at least 30 points in each game. At 25, KD has already put himself along side great company in NBA history. That continues here, as Kobe Bean Bryant is the only player to have more consecutive 30+ point games (16) then KD in the shot clock era. LeBron James’ longest streak of 30+ point games this season is a third of KD’s at just 4 games.
In a season where KD is playing the best basketball of his career, he continues to show why he is already the owner of 3 scoring titles. All which were also won consecutively. During those 12 consecutive contests KD shot nearly 55% from the field, counting game winners along the way. 4 of the consecutive 12 games he easily surpassed the 30 point mark and scored 40+ points. Even in 1 of those 4 games KD exploded for 54 points in a win over the Golden State Warriors. All systems are a “GO!” for Kevin Durant.
With Russell Westbrook missing time, KD clearly took it upon himself to keep his Thunder among the top in the Western Conference as they went 9-3 during the streak. Using Durant’s volume shooting average of a hair under 23 shot attempts a game, combined with the 54.7% he shot from the field, that is a formula for accumulating points and fast.
Those 12 consecutive games are arguably the most efficient Kevin Durant has shown he can play. However, was this 12 game streak more impressive as LeBron James’ torrid 6 game streak this time last year?
While the Miami Heat were in the mist of a 27 game winning streak, LeBron James was having a historical streak of his own. 6 consecutive games of scoring 30+ points, while also managing a field goal percentage of at least 60% in each of those 6 contests. This feat has not been accomplished by any other NBA player, ever. In fact, notching at least 30 points along with shooting at least 60% is a stat line that KD was able to reach just 4 times in his 12 game massacare on the NBA., and only 3 of those 4 times was it done consecutively.
The 60% field goal percentage mark was succeeded in each of the 6 games, although Lebron averaged an outstanding 71% shooting percentage. Which speaks volumes about his shot selection and ability to get to the rim. Only 15 shot attempts were averaged by LeBron, 7 shot attempts fewer than Kevin Durant during his streak. Yet LeBron was able to score the 30+ points. Again, highlighting his ability to get to the rim and not settle for jump shots.
Not to take anything away from Kevin Durant, the 2013-2014 NBA MVP front runner to date, but when it comes to these specific streaks LeBron is left looking over his shoulder. Who knows, maybe LeBron’s over the shoulder view of KD is…”objects in mirror may be closer than they appear”.
Written By: Jason Gitler (Chef JGZ)