Paul Flannery of SB Nation: “Yet, this season has been kind of a drag. The playoff jockeying out West is interesting to a degree, but as the season reaches the midway point, we’re all kind of hoping to fast forward to April with everyone healthy and ready to play. Durant and LeBron can change all that. I argued last season that we were bearing witness to nothing short of a golden era in pro basketball, the likes of which we haven’t seen since Bird and Magic were at their apex. Durant’s shooting has been Bird-like, while Bron’s all-around game has always been more Magic than MJ. LeBron has even copped to keeping tabs on Durant’s exploits, much like Bird used to do with Magic. We were denied that repeat Finals last season and may not get it again this year, but they will come to define the second half of the season. Each night will be a test, not only against their opponents, but also against themselves. LeBron and Durant are the best thing going right now and they have our undivided attention from now until April.”
Derek Fisher on Reggie Jackson: “My first year with the Thunder, Reggie didn’t get the opportunity to play a lot down the stretch, so I didn’t get to see him play much. Last year was kind of a similar thing. I came to the team after the trade deadline. I saw a little bit more from Reggie than the year before, and he played great in the playoffs. But the level he’s playing at now — and the consistency with which he’s playing — I can honestly say that I didn’t see it coming. What he’s done has been remarkable. He’s really done it the old fashioned way of just getting better a little bit each day. It seems like it happened fast, but it’s the years of work that he’s put in already that are leading to these great moments he’s having now.”
KD is No. 1 in NBA.com’s MVP rankings: “We’re running out of superlatives to describe KD’s current tear. He’s one 30-plus point game away from joining Kobe Bryant and LeBron James as the only players in the past decade to put together a double-digit game streak of 30-point scoring games. What Durant is doing right now is creating the sort of separation between himself and the pack, James included, that could make it virtually impossible for anyone to overtake him. He’s making a legitimate case for himself right now as the top overall player in the league.”
Drew Garrison of SB Nation: “Durant’s teammates haven’t been able to replace Westbrook. Instead, they’ve barely managed to match him. Reggie Jackson and the rest of the Thunder have assisted Durant on 31.1 percent of his shot attempts combined — the exact percentage Westbrook was creating for him on his own. Durant’s therefore shouldering a huge burden, but steamrolling through the road block. Durant has raised his shooting percentage and assists while also lowering his turnovers per game, despite being the primary focus of opponents and handling the ball more. He’s attempting more field goals and free throws per game and his true shooting percentage has actually gone up in Westbrook’s absence. No one should be surprised his scoring numbers have seen a bump, but improving his efficiency along the way is a testament to how unstoppable Durant has been.”
Oh good, Stephen A. Smith identifies what KD has to do when Russ returns. Heads up on this, KD.
KD on Ibaka as an All-Star: “There’s so many power forwards and forwards in our conference, so it’s tough,” Durant admitted. “But if you’re going off record and what Serge has done, his line of work proves it all. He should be in there.”
John Finger of CSNPhilly: “The Sixers were offering 25 percent off all Evan Turner jerseys and t-shirts on the scoreboard during the game. What type of discount will they offer after the Feb. 20 trade deadline?”