Kevin Pelton of ESPN.com gave KD an A for last night: “Durant seemed motivated to win MVP, and for much of the night it looked like he might. He finished two points shy of Glen Rice’s record for scoring in a half (24, later tied by Kyrie Irving) and threatened Wilt Chamberlain’s game record of 42, but missed six of his eight shot attempts (all but one from downtown) in the final quarter.”
Berry Tramel on players’ performance without Westbrook: “Remember in the Memphis playoff series last May, when Ibaka struggled mightily without Westbrook? That hasn’t happened now. Ibaka has been even more productive without Westbrook. His shooting percentage has risen from an already-lofty 53.8 percent, and his scoring is up 1.5 points a game. That’s with a usage rate that has barely risen, from 14.5 possessions a game to 15.0.”
The loudmouth Blazers broadcaster got mad at Scott Brooks last night. Fun fact for Mike Rice: Damian Lillard does not equal Kevin Durant.
Reggie Jackson on the dunk contest: “I wouldn’t rule it out,” Jackson said. “I was told that I was mentioned as possibly an alternate (this year). I’m happy I didn’t get picked. I don’t want to be necessarily rewarded maybe for being shorter and dunking. I actually want to have some good tricks up my sleeve if I do anything.”
Darnell Mayberry: “Could the most likable athlete in professional sports be playing in our backyard? Kevin Durant, in his seventh NBA season, has quickly made a case for that title. The Oklahoma City Thunder star has become a household name, a player whose appeal transcends age, race and gender. It’s something few sports stars have been able to do and perhaps something not seen since Michael Jordan. Durant has endeared himself to the masses by being grounded, generous and, of course, great. And he’s kept a stranglehold on hearts through his unrivaled humility.”