DC, stand up. Rockville, Maryland, stand up. Hell, even Austin, Texas, stand up. It takes a village. Thanks for grooming the angel of death. He rides in with the storm on a horse as black as night and his whisper is a banshee’s scream. He walks the courts for all eternity, black cloak on, hood up, bloody scythe in hand. He is death coming for you. You cannot kill him, for Kevin Wayne Durant already dead. The Slim Reaper’s done risen.
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Willie Nelson once told Letterman that he wrote “Crazy,” “Funny How Time Slips Away,” and “Night Life” all on the same road trip. It was 1961 and he was heading from Houston up to Nashville. Paid for the Buick, he’d told Letterman. That was a fairly prolific road trip for Willie. “Crazy” would go on to become the number one jukebox song of all time, which is a big thing if you remember that proper jukeboxes used to exist all over the place in establishments that weren’t just your town’s old bowling alley and that super hip bar that still only takes cash.
Durant’s on a similar trip right now, his most recent points filled journey having been laced with prodigiousness, might, and general potency. He’s turned Tuesday nights into events and Tuesday nights aren’t supposed to be events. They’re supposed to be nights where you catch up on your DVR’d episodes of Pawn Stars. Where you rifle through the Recently Added list on Netflix and run through the first season of An Idiot Abroad. Durant’s got people glued to their televisions, their Twitter feeds getting filled with things that are slowly less hyperbolic and more just the state of the damn Durant union. He’s a figment of some mad-basketball scientist’s imagination. He’s a 6’10″ behemoth with sycamores for arms that can pop 32 footers in a man’s face, put the ball on the floor and in-and-out somebody to the ground, or just yam on someone with all the recklessness of a pissed off blind bull in a china shop. He’s got the all encompassing stride of Godzilla and he does just about as much damage to a defense.
I remember watching Adrian Peterson run the ball as a freshman at OU. He was so big and so fast and so strong that every time he touched the ball you had an idea in your head that he had a chance to get into the end zone. There are few players that spark up that kind of possibility when the ball’s in their hands and Durant has managed to duplicate that feeling of late. Every time you watch him you feel like you might be watching him do the greatest thing that he’s ever done.
I’d say there’s a reverence to the proceedings right now, but it hardly feels that way. This is bloody stuff. He’s twisting the knife, sending defenders to their graves. I’m saying, the rest of the league is Don Ciccio right now.
I get wary saying we should enjoy this while it’s happening to us because that would suggest that not only is this 30+ point streak going to end — sadly, it will — but also that we’re never going to experience a scoring run from Durant like this again, and he’s just too young for that talk. It’s been beaten into the ground, but the guy’s 25 years old. That’s what’s horrifying for everyone else: his youth. We’re dealing with a young killer who’s probably three years away from being fully realized. The rest of the league is going to have to deal with this problem, this alien, for a lot longer.
And make no mistake, it very much feels like this run is happening to us. We’re all powerless to him right now. Durant may as well be controlling Earth’s orbit. If he told me he was going to go Jimmy Stewart on us and lasso the moon to pull it a little closer to earth, I’d ready myself for brighter nights. The guy has the light right now, he’s carrying the fire. Durant is asserting his will upon the basketball world and the rest of us are just along for the ride, jaws dragging on the ground, eyes unblinking for fear we might miss his next act of absurdity.
This is what Durant has done in the fifteen games since Russell Westbrook’s stupid meniscus decided to be a jerk.
36.5 PPG. 7.2 RPG. 5.6 APG. 1.4 SPG. 52% FG. 40% 3P. 88% FT. He’s done all that in a little over 38 minutes per game. He’s gone over forty on four different occasions and he’s topped 50 once.
He is a glitch in the system. He’s a cheat code. He is the personification of playing with Oddjob in Goldeneye. He is not fair.