Sports

Durant continues hot streak, scores 51 in loss

olden State Warriors star Kevin Durant scored 51 points in Thursday’s 131-128 overtime loss to the Toronto Raptors, marking the first time in his storied career he scored 40 or more points in three consecutive games.

Durant finished the night 18-for-31 from the field, 4-for-7 from beyond the arc and 11-for-12 from the free throw line. He added 11 rebounds and 6 assists to go along with his 51 points.

Durant was on point throughout the night, but it was down the stretch where he shined the most, knocking down a turnaround 3-pointer in the corner over Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard that left a sellout crowd in Scotiabank Arena in stunned awe and sent the game into overtime.

To put Durant’s latest performance into context, he became the first player since Oklahoma City Thunder All-Star Russell Westbrook to score 40 or more in three straight games, a feat Westbrook pulled off in February-March 2017, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

The last Warriors player with three consecutive 40-plus games was Stephen Curry, who did it in February 2016.The only other Warriors players to accomplish the feat are Wilt Chamberlain and Rick Barry.

This was the sixth 50-point performance of Durant’s career, his second with the Warriors. The most recent player with three straight games of at least 44 points, as Durant did, was Kobe Bryant in March 2007.

The Warriors now have three players with a 50-point game this season. The only other team with three different 50-point scorers in a single season are the 1961-62 Lakers — Elgin Baylor had five and Jerry West and Rudy LaRusso each had two such games, according to ESPN Stats & Info data.

Durant’s performance is even more impressive given that the Warriors are still without Curry (strained left groin) and Draymond Green (toe soreness).

The Raptors once led by as much as 18 points, but the undermanned Warriors clawed back, led by Durant as he continued to heat up from the field. Leonard set the tone early for the Raptors, finishing with 37 points of his own while trying to keep Durant in check.

It was the first matchup between the superstar players since Game 1 of the 2017 Western Conference finals. For many NBA fans, it’s a matchup they would love to see again during the Finals. The Raptors visit Oracle Arena on Dec. 12.

 

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