Against Indiana Saturday night, Kevin Durant absolutely took over in the fourth quarter. The Pacers had cut an 18-point Thunder lead to just five at 93-88 and with 6:31 Durant checked back in. Indiana then got it down to 93-92 and what looked to be an easy, coasting victory was now going to need some serious effort. And that’s when KD went to work.
He scored 10 of the Thunder’s final 15 points, going 3-4 from the field and 4-4 from the line. It was reminiscent of the way Kobe Bryant sat on the bench last year in Oklahoma City as the Thunder ran a big Laker lead down only for Kobe to check in with about six minutes left and score a bundle of buckets to tear out OKC’s heart. It’s something KD is improving at. He’s learning how to become The Closer. Another good example was in Phoenix, finishing off the Suns.
But he’s inconsistent with it. Sometimes, like against the Hornets last week, he only takes two shots. He doesn’t totally have that closing role down yet. Understandably so, seeing as he’s just 21 and that typically is one of the final steps a superstar takes. Figuring out how to take over for your team in crunch time isn’t an easy thing to do. But it’s what the top stars in this league do.
Right now, KD is fourth in the league in scoring at 28.7 a game. He’s shooting an incredible 48 percent from the floor. In his last 25 games, he’s hitting over 35 percent from 3. But if there is one tick against him, it’s that he sometimes fades out in the fourth quarter. Consider: In the first three quarters, KD shoots 51.3 percent from the floor. In the fourth, he hits just 39.2 percent. He averages just 5.9 points in the fourth quarter, while averaging 7.7 combined for the other three. He gets to the line less, shoots lower from 3 (34 to 30) and his turnovers go up. Sometimes when it matters most, Durant’s numbers go down. Keep Reading…