Kevin Durant’s remarkable streak may be over, but his history against the Los Angeles Clippers indicates he’s likely to start another one.
The superstar forward would rather worry about the Oklahoma City Thunder’s performances than his own.
Durant will try to help the Thunder extend their lead over the surging Clippers in the race for second place in the Western Conference on Wednesday night.
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Durant is headed for a fourth NBA scoring title with an average of 32.0 points. He had scored at least 25 for 41 consecutive games before coming two points shy in Tuesday’s 107-92 win at Sacramento, as he sat out the fourth quarter due to the sizable lead.
The five-time All-Star is happy the streak is over.
"I was getting so many texts after every game. I’m glad that’s over with and we can just focus on the team," said Durant, who shot 8 for 13 in 31 minutes. "If we played well and I had 25 points, that took away from how well the team was playing, so I didn’t like that. If we lost, it was all about me scoring 25 points and I didn’t like that either. I’m glad we can just talk about the team now."
The Thunder (56-21) have already clinched the Northwest Division title, and lead Los Angeles (55-23) by 1 1/2 games for the No. 2 seed in the West with five games left in the regular season – one more than the Clippers.
Despite his reluctant attitude, Durant will surely have a hand in increasing that advantage.
He averages 29.0 points in 24 career meetings with them, scoring 34.2 over the past six. Durant poured in 42 points in the most recent matchup, a 125-117 home loss Feb. 23.
Russell Westbrook struggled from the floor in that one, going 3 for 13 while finishing with 13 points. The point guard will be back in the lineup after coach Scott Brooks rested him Tuesday, as he’s done during one game of back-to-back sets since he returned from right knee surgery Feb. 20.
The Pacific Division champion Clippers are looking to continue their impressive surge, which started with the victory over the Thunder two months ago. Since then, they’ve reeled off 18 wins in 21 games while averaging 110.8 points.
"Our whole message is to worry about ourselves," forward Blake Griffin said. "We know who we are. We just want to sharpen the things we do."
The Clippers, who lead the league with 107.8 points per game, looked primed for a postseason run Sunday, routing the Los Angeles Lakers 120-97 while hitting 56.6 percent from the floor and 10 of 19 from 3-point range.
Like the Thunder, the lopsided score allowed coach Doc Rivers to limit minutes for his starters, including Griffin and guard Chris Paul.
"It’s just every game’s important as far as I’m concerned," Rivers said. "You just want to keep winning and you just want to do that. It’s nice to win and guys have relatively low minutes, so that was good."
Griffin, who will likely find himself matched up with Durant, had 20 points with seven rebounds and six assists in the February meeting with Oklahoma City.
Paul, though, came two boards shy of a triple-double, scoring 18 points and dishing out 12 assists. He enters this matchup averaging 23.8 points over the past six games, while sinking half of his 40 3-pointers.