Nike has “The Leap, 2.0″ for Kevin Durant. This time, it looks at KD’s connection to Barry Farms: “Thing is, KD didn’t forget where his game was honed. Doesn’t hide from the clay courts that continue to shape his ever-expanding game. And actually loves coming home to strut his stuff against the best D.C.’s summer leagues have to offer. Maybe you caught him in action last summer at the Barry Farm’s Goodman League – a small neighborhood in Southeast Washington, D.C. Coined in honor of communal activist George Goodman, it’s a place where those who ball onward and upward can always return – especially if their expertise was born there.”
SportsNation votes on stuff about KD: “Kobe Bryant has the killer instinct. LeBron James has the NFL body. But if you were designing a player from scratch to play a game of one-on-one, wouldn’t the product look something like Kevin Durant? The Thunder star was at it again Tuesday, scoring 33 points in a win against the Hawks. It was his 22nd consecutive game with 25-plus point, the most since Allen Iverson did it 25 games in a row nine years ago.”
Vince Thomas of NBA.com: “Kevin Durant, Most Improved: This is simple. He’s gone from a really good and promising young star to one of the five or six best players in the league. Case closed.”
Derrick Rose has been excused from the Rookie/Sophomore game so I’d imagine Russell Westbrook will get the starting nod now.
Mustafa Shakur of the 66ers has been selected for the D-League All-Star Game. Shakur is averaging 19.6 ppg and 7.0 apg.
Behind the box score: “I’m inclined to agree. Durant was the man down the stretch, nailing crucial jumper after crucial jumper, as the Thunder pulled away. And while it was Oklahoma City’s defense that usually wins games for the Thunder, and a pair of fourth quarter stops that the AP highlighted (rightfully) in its gamer, this was an offensive duel.”
Darnell Mayberry: “The moment came Tuesday night like it always does in close games. But this time Kevin Durant was ready for it. When the referees swallowed their whistles and Joe Johnson tightened up his defense, Durant did something he hasn’t done much this season. He pushed back. The Thunder’s frail forward didn’t get frustrated. He got even. And with 2:48 remaining, after Durant and Johnson spent too many seconds bumping and battling for position, the refs finally rewarded Durant with a personal foul call on Johnson. The sequence summed up what Durant seemingly must do from here out to not get knocked off his spot.”
Holly MacKenzie of SLAM: “Russ Westbrook was awesome with 12 points, nine rebounds and nine assists. He also had a dunk that shows why he should be in the dunk contest. For the Hawks, Joe Johnson was solid with 37 points, but it wasn’t enough. The game was close down the stretch with Durant hitting two buckets and Jeff Green hitting a huge 3-pointer to give the Thunder some breathing room. Josh Smith become the youngest player in NBA history to record 1000 career blocks. Kevin Durant became the first player since Allen Iverson to score 25 points or more in 22 consecutive games. I was a happy girl because the Thunder are awesome.”
Hoopinon: “Kevin Durant (33 points on 18 shots, 11 defensive rebounds) couldn’t quite shoot or score as ridiculously efficiently as Joe Johnson but he got help from a wider a variety sources. Jeff Green and Russell Westbrook needed 31 shots to score their 31 points but they also combined for 9 offensive rebounds. Nenad Krstic, Serge Ibaka, and Nick Collison did a great job of using the space vacated by Atlanta’s post defenders when they went to help the perimeter players defensively, combining for 22 points on 14 shots and 6 offensive rebounds.”
From Hawks Squawks, the AJC’s blog: “Durant is for real. He also gets a lot of calls. Tough to say where one ends and the other begins … I saw one Iso-Joe in the fourth quarter though not sure if I should include it in the count because it wasn’t a called play. Al set a screen and his man doubled J.J., who backed out and decided to take Thabo Sefolosha one-on-one. He lost the ball out of bounds on the drive. Looked like a foul but goes down as a turnover.”
Interesting comment in last night’s recap: “And now from the Useless Information Department: the Thunder are 25-10 when they win the 3rd quarter, 2-11 when they don’t. In those 10 losses, we were ahead after three quarters 6 times, within 3 points once, and went into the 3rd quarter trailing by double digits 5 times. You noticed that doesn’t add up to ten? That’s because twice we went into halftime down double digits, won the 3rd quarter by enough to get the lead, then lost the game. Sucks doesn’t it.”
And obviously, check out the new Bolts logo. You dig? Major props to Colin Butler who designed it (as well as the recently new awesome header).