Kevin Durant wasn’t human on Friday night.
That particular method of describing an athlete’s performance is probably overused, but it is easily the best description of what took place in Oklahoma City, as Durant scored a career-high 54 points in dispatching of the Golden State Warriors, 127-121. Through 3 quarters, Durant scored an incredible 39 points on 14-for-20 shooting, but he saved his best effort for the fourth quarter, scoring 15 points on just 8 shots to carry Oklahoma City to a 6-point win.
The final stat line speaks for itself (including 19-for-28 from the floor in total), but the way that Durant eviscerated a quality defensive team like Golden State was a thing of beauty. It’s hard to overstate just how good he looked for long stretches of this game, and his 11-point outburst during a 1-minute, 47-second stretch of the 4th quarter sent any long-time NBA fan to memories of the all-time greats.
Of course, he wasn’t the only player on the floor for the Thunder, and he got some big-time support. Serge Ibaka was the biggest helper in scoring 21 points and adding 8 rebounds, but as a team, OKC shot 58% from the floor and 41% from beyond the 3-point arc, while out-rebounding the Warriors 41-33. Obviously, it is a bit easier to achieve a blistering offensive night when one of the best players on Earth goes for 50+, but the 127 points scored by the Thunder doubled as a season-high, and it was an incredible showing.
Kevin Durant’s performance (on national TV, no less) will certainly live on as one of the highlights of the 2013-2014 season (and perhaps the moment that Durant cemented his MVP run?), and for me, it will serve as a reminder of the ridiculous upside that he can display on any given night.