29.5 points. 8.3 rebounds. 4.9 assists. 1.6 steals. 0.9 blocks. 49% FG. 41% 3FG. 88%FT. 29.5 PER. 63% TS.
Those are the numbers for Kevin Durant so far this season, playing Zeus level basketball.
35.0 points. 9.1 rebounds. 5.4 assists. 1.6 steals. 0.9 blocks. 50% FG. 36% 3FG. 88%FT. 63% TS.
Those are the numbers he’s put up in the seven games since the Thunder delivered the worst Christmas present ever, telling the world of Westbrook’s third knee scope and subsequent need to sit out for at least two months.
Durant’s doing all that in a little over 38 minutes a game. To be perfectly clear, those numbers — which we’ll just start calling the Beverleys — are gaudy. It feels safe to say now that this is the best basketball of his career. Some of his playoff performances have certainly held more weight than what he’s been doing in recent weeks, but none gave the feeling of the defense being as hopeless as they appear right now. Perhaps the genius, especially of late, has been born out of necessity, what with Westbrook going down, but I don’t much care to talk about how it got here — that’ll just make me sad and have me throwing darts at my Patrick Beverley Fathead again — I’m just glad it came when it did.
Durant’s becoming the basketball equivalent of what the Kindle Fire thinks it is. He’s starting to be able to do every single thing, the most recent Timberwolves game yet another virtuoso performance to add to an increasingly long list of performances Durant has provided fans with that leave us all feeling like we’re watching some super polite extra-terrestrial that arrived on this planet one day with one life goal: get buckets.
He has more MOMENTS now. More “This guy…” text messages sent. More wide eyed “Dude, you gotta come in here and watch what Durant just did” DVR rewinds. More Sam Presti giggling to himself that this guy fell to him.
When Durant gets going it’s not a heat check, it’s a surface of the sun check, his arms so long as they offer up another 30 foot fiery dagger it looks like he’s dropping threes in from just above the rim. And when he becomes unconscious…oh, boy.
At the 2:12 mark of the video Durant, already mid-Timberwolf-assault, begins a string of six makes. He’s the only one that scores for the Thunder in that time frame, offering up Corey Brewer a Nuclear Swiss Army Knife XLT 5000 Prix Fixe Deluxe Platinum Dinner Menu of buckets. First a 17 ft jumper. Then he crosses him up and takes him to the rim for a finger roll of a palate cleanser. Next, off a Collison screen, he pops a three right in his face. Then comes the really fun one.
Barea misses a three and Durant comes down with the board. He takes it west to east and pulls up on the break from 25 feet out. He lets it go with Brewer flying at him and as the ball spins toward its destiny Durant does what is becoming my favorite thing. He crouches down to watch what happens next. He bends at the knees and turns his body sideways like he’s about to do some form of martial arts with the word snake in the title and he just watches the ball. He keeps his hands down and he squats a little bit and takes it all in, the whole scene his creation. The ball floats true, as it does when the basketball gods change him over to DESTROY ALL LIFE MODE, and he sees it fall through the net.
He follows that up with yet another three, Brewer helpless below him. Then another three, this time giving Pekovic a taste, a shot so vile Durant acts like something smells. He lasso’d the Timberwolves side of the scoreboard. They were his. He held them in his hands and he eviscerated them. The Timberwolves announcer says “unbelievable” because that’s what it is.