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Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014 at 9:00 am  |  148 responses

Post Up: KD Can’t Miss

Durant scores 46 in a win over the Trail Blazers and Rudy Gay puts up 41 against the Pelicans.

by Alex Shultz / @AlexShultz

Oklahoma City Thunder 105 (32-10), Portland Trail Blazers 97 (31-11)

After Michael Jordan dropped 63 points in a playoff game against the Boston Celtics in 1986, Larry Bird famously declared that he thought God was disguised as the future Hall of Fame shooting guard. 

Tuesday night’s matchup between the Thunder and the Trail Blazers was only a regular-season affair, but Portland guard Mo Williams offered up some similar religious imagery after Kevin Durant torched one of the top teams in the Western Conference.

“The way he was playing, he could’ve scored on Jesus,” Williams told Blazers beat writer Joe Freeman.

Durant scored 46 points on 17-25 shooting, his eighth straight game with at least 30 points. He knocked down three triples in the last three minutes, including two daggers with less than 60 seconds remaining, as the Thunder improved to 19-3 at home.

Blazers big man LaMarcus Aldridge finished with 29 points and 16 rebounds, but was just 1-8 in the fourth quarter. Portland ended a brutal four-game road trip against the Spurs, Mavs, Rockets and Thunder with a respectable 2-2 record.

Miami Heat 93 (30-12), Boston Celtics 86 (14-29)

LeBron James lived up to the “King James” moniker on the back of his jersey, as the Heat grabbed a much-needed victory while donning their special nickname uniforms.

James had 29 points and 8 rebounds and got some help from Miami big man Chris Anderson, who chipped in with 13 points and 7 boards on a perfect 5-5 shooting night.

Boston was able to hang with the champs in the second half, even taking an 86-84 lead with 3:08 left in the contest. Rajon Rondo struggled in his second game back though, missing a pair of free throws with less than a minute left to help seal the deal for the Heat. Rondo was 0-8 from the floor in 26 minutes of action.

Brooklyn Nets 101 (18-22), Orlando Magic 90 (11-31)

The Nets improved to 8-1 since the New Year with a relatively easy win over the lowly Magic, holding Orlando to 14 points in the third quarter en route to the victory.

Brooklyn got remarkably consistent performances from its starters and reserves—nine players logged at least 20 minutes, and that number doesn’t even include power forward Kevin Garnett, who had eight points in 18 minutes. Andray Blatche led the way with 18 points and a nasty jam on Orlando center Kyle O’Quinn, who had a nice game himself (15 points and 8 rebounds). Upon further review of the Brooklyn big man’s dunk, TNT commentator Chris Webber broke out a rendition of “Blatche, Don’t Kill My Vibe,” a not-quite-as-catchy remix of Kendrick Lamar’s hit song.  

If the Nets keep up this hot streak, they might start singing along with Webber. Brooklyn now sits just three games back of third place in the Eastern Conference, even with center Brook Lopez out for the season.

Sacramento Kings 114 (15-25), New Orleans Pelicans 97 (16-25)

If not for Kevin Durant’s monster performance, Tuesday night’s runaway MVP would’ve been Rudy Gay, who scorched the Pelicans in New Orleans to the tune of 41 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists.

Though the Raptors have stabilized to a 20-20 record since Gay was shipped off to Sacramento, it’s tough to complain about his play for the Kings. He’s shooting over 50 percent from the floor in 20 games with his new squad.

The Kings jumped out to a 38-20 lead after the first quarter, which was too much for the Pelicans to recover from. New Orleans continues to freefall without point guard Jrue Holiday and big man Ryan Anderson, falling to 2-10 since the start of 2014. Center Jeff Withey scored a career-high 14 points and power forward Anthony Davis stuffed the stat sheet as usual, though on just 4-12 shooting (16 points, six rebounds, two steals, four blocks).

Minnesota Timberwolves 112 (20-21), Utah Jazz 97 (14-29)

The Timberwolves led for the latter 46 minutes of a blowout win against the Jazz, and all five Minnesota starters finished in double figures.

Kevin Love nearly put up a triple-double with 19 points, 13 rebounds and 8 assists. Ricky Rubio had one of his better games this season, finishing with 11 points, 13 assists, 5 steals and an adorable back-and-forth with a young basketball fan during a timeout.

Despite the blowout loss, the Jazz did get some good news with the return of Gordon Hayward, who had missed five games with a hip flexor injury. Hayward led all scorers with 27 points, but the rest of the Utah’s starters failed to show up, combining for just 21. Power forward Derrick Favors was a gametime decision entering the contest and ended up sitting out with a hip injury of his own. 

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  • mtobi

    Durant looks like the most significant cause of global waming this year.

  • LLC#12

    Durant is insane, I wonder what his career high will be when it’s all said and done. Will he crack 60? He certainly has the talent, but I don’t know if he’ll ever be in a situation where he needs to drop 60.

    The Nets are really on a roll, if they keep it up, I wonder where they’ll finish in the east. 4th is a real possibility. Does anyone know if Lopez would be back for any point of the playoffs?

  • don

    lopez is supposedly out for the season

  • Sérgio

    Durant is in a serious roll right now. Its amazing.

    But, on those days when Kobe is not getting much attention on the media and has not been able to leave his imprint on the court, its nice to remember his past feats. Look at this note, featured in ESPN’s Daily Dime from today:

    “9. Stat Check

    By Elias Sports Bureau

    Kevin Durant, with 46 points in Tuesday night’s win against the Trail Blazers, has scored at least 45 points four times in his last 10 games. The only other players in the past 25 years with four (or more) 45-point performances in a 10-game span of a season are Kobe Bryant (many times, most recently in March-April 2007) and Bernard King (during the 1990-91 season).

    Durant has scored 383 points over his last 10 games, the highest 10-game total in any season since Bryant scored 396 points in a 10-game stretch late in the 2006-07 campaign.”

    The has been done by only 3 players in the last 25 years: King, Kobe and now KD. The difference is that Kobe has done it MANY times. What a player.

  • JJ Jones

    Thoughts I think okc should be considered the favorite over indiana. They are DESTROYING elite teams without Russel westbrook. Second lebron seems to have turned it up a bit recently but dwyane wade missing yet another game is very concerning. I think he may be done after this year there’s something that they aren’t telling the public I mean the last two games he did play he was non-existant. Third if lebron wants to hold his spot at the top he’s not only going to have to be a okc next week but he MUST outplayed durant unless wade happens to miss that game too. Kd is coming he wants to be number 1 and it looks like he may just get it.

  • http://soundcloud.com/tray-8 T-Ray

    The whole “Blatche Don’t Kill My Vibe” was awesome. On another note KD is just insane and looks prime to take home the MVP award. As of now I have the Pacers over OKC in 6 but if KD can continue this stellar play when Russ comes back then I might have to reconsider. Despite Portland’s record I don’t see them as legit contenders BUT they are moving in the right direction and that is a bright spot considering the past they’ve had with injuries.

  • Stepfan Raiford

    LA was amazing last night for the first three quarters but my concern for Portland comes up again, they don’t have a bench. Clearly Portland is one of the best jump shooting teams in the league but man they went cold. KD is on a mission. Cant wait for Westbrook to come back to the team. Clearly the favorites to win the West.

    No vision problems for Rudy last night. He has the talent but needs to put it together night in and night out. Hell that goes for the entire Kings team.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    A description of every one of Rudy Gay’s shot attempts last night, it is awesome. http://www.sactownroyalty.com/2014/1/21/5333338/rudy-gays-eye-opening-performance

  • i_ball

    It really is awesome!

  • vannshy

    ahah awesome indeed !

  • playa

    Damn durantula is raining on them H###!!! Just shi###ng on the defenders.

  • Guest

    “yes, I chose that title because I really wanted to use that picture again” lol

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    “The only other players in the past 25 years with four (or more) 45-point performances in a 10-game span of a season are Kobe Bryant (many times, most recently in March-April 2007)”

    Kobe Bryant did it *three* times. not “MANY” times.

  • Max

    Let’s ‘hope’ DWade misses the game against OKC so we can see KD and Lebron go head to head!

  • playa

    4 out of 10 with 45 sheeesh, give me Kobe’s 9 straight 40 ties, 4 straight 50ties or 3 whole months(in 3 different season if im not wrong) with 40+ average,but HAIL DURANT nonetheless,he’s playing out of this world right now.

  • Max

    If they’d have Lopez they would be a very scary lower seeded team especially for Miami, but I think he’s out for the whole season like don said.

  • Max

    Nice!

  • LakeShow

    Durant has entered the Kobe/MJ conversation for how lethal of a scorer he is when hot.

    Yeah, I said it.

  • Sérgio

    Still impressive. But where did you get the exact data about this?

  • Stepfan Raiford

    “DO THE JORDAN SHRUG. DO IT, RUDY.” hahahahaha

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk
  • LakeShow

    I agree that LeBron has turned it up a bit.

    What’s interesting(but not really at all) is how his efficiency is always much lower when he “turns it up.”

    That’s what I’ve always noticed about him. He likes to coast. Of course him coasting is still better than 95% of the L. But he likes to play fully in the flow of the game. Not force anything, make the “right play” every time.

    When he turns it up(last 5 games) his FG% dropped 7%. His 3PtFG’s dropped 21%.

    That’s fine. Because that still puts him at 51% FG’s (3pt FG’s 16%). Which is marvelous, but it’s always been a concern to his legacy(for me) how he never quite seemed to want to take over games regularly.

    Anyway, just ignore me. Musings of a hater.

  • LakeShow

    Plus he’s already been through his prime(18 year vet). Durant just entered his.

  • Mvp23100

    I thought you had to have rings to be in that conversation little brother hasn’t grown up yet

  • LakeShow

    The only conversation I put him in with them is the lethality of his scoring prowess.

  • Harvey

    I still believe nobody will ever touch Kobe’s 81 (I still do)… but this guy could do it if he went all out for it. He’s automatic from every spec of the hardwood!

  • LakeShow

    He’s only the 4th guy (Shaq, MJ, KB) that I have witnessed truly make everyone else look non existent(regularly) on the court. He makes it look as if he were playing at a summer league game against a lower level D1 player.

  • Dagger

    I agree with you, but Lebron should be part of that conversation. When he’s on, there is literally no stopping him (just ask the Pacers or Celtics). For that matter, let’s include prime Tmac.

  • ARISE CHICKEN

    yes and yes

  • ARISE CHICKEN

    magnificient

  • Harvey

    You could maybe throw Hakeem in there too. But I get what you’re saying, KD is playing off the charts right now. 6″11″ with handles and can score from 15ft, 18ft, 23ft… and the fcking parking lot.

  • Dagger

    I mean, I hate to talk too much about Lebron when the focus should be on Durant’s marvelous play lately, but Lebron did average 31.6 points per game in 2005/2006. In the playoffs he averaged 35.3 PPG in 2008/09 while shooting over 50%.

    You can quote Lebron scoring statistics all day, but the bottom line is that yes, of course his efficiency usually declines when the entire offense rests on his scoring ability. But he’s still a very efficient scorer when he does need to put up big numbers. And he’s definitely taken over games regularly.

    Note, for example, that Durant has now scored over 30 points in 8 straight games. Lebron did that for 10 straight games in 2006/07.

  • LakeShow

    I’m not saying you’re wrong, but can you provide more than a couple instances to put him up in their category?

    I mean this is the *50ppg* over a couple games area we are talking about. I don’t think Bron has done that like KD and KB and MJ have shown. Am I wrong?

    He’s been as dominant when taking in defense and playmaking, but as far as scoring impact on a game I haven’t seen him do things like this.

  • Mvp23100

    True his scoring prowess cant be denied I’m probably annoyed because if Durant goes home in the 2nd round no one will be shocked people are prisoners of the moment everything’s beautiful without Russ for two months will we see this in June

  • JJ Jones

    Hopefully so this can be settled with no excuses

  • LakeShow

    Yeah Hakeem is in there too.

    The parking lot is not an overestimation lol.

  • LakeShow

    What about 40 points and 50 points? 30ppg is easy haha.

  • JJ Jones

    He can’t be as selective when he gets more aggressive so his fg% drops. This is why I dont understand people who say wait until playoffs when his stats always drop at that time.

  • Dagger

    I mean, Lebron has scored over 50 points on nine different occasions. In 2005-06 he scored over 30 points in 10 straight games (averaging over 37 PPG in that stretch). He averaged 38 PPG against the Magic in a playoff series, and in that postseason he averaged over 35 PPG (in 14 games). His career scoring average is also higher than Durant’s (it’s the second-highest since the merger), despite coming out of high school.

    So I would say you’re wrong, although what Durant is doing is unbelievable. Just what this season needed!

  • http://soundcloud.com/tray-8 T-Ray

    I would still put LBJ in that class of players because he is more than capable of just taking over a game and making everyone else seem non existent. The 09 ECF, 12&13 Pacers series and 12 ECF are just a few examples of what happens when he decides to takeover like KD has been doing.

  • Mvp23100

    You real confident for a dude who ain’t won s**t he’s been balling the first half of the season but will he make it out the west probably not

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    LeBron James
    40 point games – 39
    50 point games – 9
    Kevin Durant
    40 point games – 28
    50 point games – 3

  • LakeShow

    Wiki says:

    For Durant:

    Consecutive games scoring 30 or more points [7 (twice), from December 22, 2009 to January 2, 2010 and from April 4, 2010 to April 14]
    Broke the record of 6 set by Spencer Haywood in January 1972.

    I’m surprised by that.

  • spit hot fiyah
  • Conor

    Honestly ecstatic that he’s realizing his potential.

  • JJ Jones

    He put up 30 ppg on over 50% shooting in the finals. Want to know why he’s ringleader ask the lead guard for the houston rockets. Lebron didn’t win anything at this age either and never had a finals that good at that age. Not taking anything away from lebron but this is about the players skill set not their respective teams. Pat riley does what is necessary to win does presti? He’ll no. Kd is different this year lbj has regressed (on defense)

  • havoc33

    I absolutely LOVE what Durant is doing at the moment. This is exactly
    what the league needs. It brings some much needed excitement to the
    regular season grind.

    People and players can talk all they want about efficiency, but scoring like Durant is doing now is what really gets people
    talking. It took some time, but Durant has finally unleashed what we all
    thought he had in him. Seeing him drop long distance bombs like it’s no
    thing brings back fond memories of Kobe going nuts in his prime. Just
    like MJ and Bird used to do back in the day as well.

  • LakeShow

    Damn, just read this too: In 2003, Bryant scored 30 points or more in 16 consecutive games.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    if him and Shaq could have coexisted into 2006, Kobe could have gone for 30 for a full season straight. if Kobe didn’t have to deal with constant over crowding of his space by multiple defenders in that season? oh man.

  • Dagger

    Pat Riley and Sam Presti are operating in vastly different contexts. If Presti was working for a different owner, the Thunder would definitely have retained Harden.

  • Caboose

    So umm, did anybody else know that Chauncey Billups is actually still in the L? Cause I didn’t…

  • Caboose

    I think there’s a difference there. When LeBron is on, his TEAM looks unstoppable. When Durant/Kobe/Jordan are on, THEY look unstoppable. Slight distinction, and I get what Lake means.

  • LakeShow

    I realized he was. Detroit right? Not playing though that I’ve seen.

  • http://soundcloud.com/tray-8 T-Ray

    Well not to take away from what KD has been doing but even if you stack up the stats between them from that 2012 Finals LBJ outplayed him and made him work for his shots when he was guarding him. When KD was guarding LBJ he didn’t have nearly as much as an impact.
    KD: 30.6ppg, 6.0rpg, 2.2apg, 1.4spg, & 1.0bpg
    LBJ: 28.6ppg, 10.2rpg, 7.4apg, 1.6spg & 0.4bpg
    Even in their head-to-head matchups LBJ was the more imposing force.

  • LakeShow

    Yeah, that’s it man. It’s definitely not a downfall of LeBron. Just different styles.

  • Caboose
  • Caboose

    Magic and Hakeem fall into that category whereas Larry/MJ/Durant/Kobe fall into the other.

  • LakeShow

    Yep, all top 10 players all time, but different ways of going about it.

  • LakeShow

    1 game over 7 points… SOLID lol

  • Caboose

    Let’s wait a little before Durant gets to be up there. He MIGHT be, but there’s also the possibility his career shakes out closer to Dominique.

    Boose’s Top 10:
    Jordan
    Wilt
    Abdul Jabbar
    Magic
    Bird
    Duncan
    O’Neal
    Kobe
    Olajuwon
    Russell

    I think LeBron will end up either right behind or right ahead of Wilt if he ages the way Jordan did.

  • LakeShow

    Well yeah sorry, kinda lumped KD in there.

    If LeBron ages the way Jordan did, he’ll have two three-peats…

    Damn you got high expectations haha.

  • Dagger

    Since we’re talking purely about how much, and how efficiently, a player can score when he’s on, I disagree. Lebron’s team can look unstoppable when he gets a triple double, but individually Lebron has also looked unstoppable as a scorer.

  • http://soundcloud.com/tray-8 T-Ray

    Dude don’t f*ckin remind me lol smh

  • Caboose

    Haha more like, Bron doesn’t fall off the face of the planet when he’s 34.

  • Caboose

    True, he can and he has, but the instances have become much less frequent.

  • LakeShow

    Just to add to our scoring talk here…

    “During the 2005-06 season, Bryant had two months in which he scored over 40 points per game. In January 2006, the month he scored 81 against the Toronto Raptors, Bryant averaged 43.4 points. In April of that same year, he averaged 41.6 points while shooting nearly 51 percent overall and 41.3 percent from deep.”

    Is this real life?

  • LakeShow

    Give him a year or two to surpass him haha.

    I’m actually surprised. I did not think LeBron scored 50 points on 9 occasions… I really didn’t. Thought it was like 3-5.

  • Dagger

    I remember those days clearly. While I loved to watch Kobe score (except against my Raptors), I hated watching the Lakers. What’s so impressive about Durant now is that he’s scoring in the context of great team play. Kobe’s Lakers distorted the way basketball should be played, and nobody realized that more than Kobe. It explains part of his fondness for Pau Gasol.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Oh yeah no doubt. Durant is going to eclipse a lot of scoring records, but LeBron is an all time scorer. Just not in the same way that the other greats are. He’s more effortless but less ruthless. Which both (albeit the effortless one moreso) obviously can be very frustrating to watch on occasion.

  • LakeShow

    “Kobe’s Lakers distorted the way basketball should be played”

    Come again?

    Not following how Durant is doing it “in the context of great team play.” And KB did not?…

  • LakeShow

    Nail meet head.

  • Feez_22

    KD’s playing as if his freedom is on the line

  • LakeShow

    Comparing their first Finals appearances would be more appropriate than viewing LeBrons 4th time in the finals vs KD’s 1st. Would you agree?

  • http://soundcloud.com/tray-8 T-Ray

    Without question I was just comparing what they did when matched up against each other.

  • LakeShow

    I hope the Spurs actually try to stop KD tonight.

    They probably won’t, because Pop loves playing possum during the RS, but it would be fun to see a fully exerted, defensive team trying to stop Durant just to test his ability.

    Kawai, whatchu got?

  • Conor

    HaHaHa

    It’s the vestige of old quandaries, man. Nothing more.

  • GrizzGnG

    As amazing as Kobe was/is, it’s kinda sad that t-mac doesn’t get anymore appreciation after actually averaging 33 ppg the entire season for orlando and was injury plagued and never fulfilled his potential.

  • LakeShow

    I figured, but I’m waiting for an explanation. This is the first I’ve heard of that perspective.

  • LakeShow

    I feel like he gets his due. He gets brought up anytime the best scorers of all time are.

    Many on here talk about how he and Shaq could have won a title or titles together, to which I don’t disagree. I love Mac.

    He’s in the history books, but we all know he has a “incomplete” next to his name.

  • JJ Jones

    Well my point is that one organization is willing to do what it takes to win while the other clearlyvisnt. Are we really going to penalize durant for that. When u watch lebron and durant play RIGHT NOW what are your eyes telling you.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    T-Mac gets a ton of credit from me for that 02/03 season. It’s in the hierarchy of seasons from a perimeter player in the first decade of the 2000s.

    02-03 – McGrady
    05-06 – Kobe
    08-09 – Wade

  • JJ Jones

    I agree that lebron outplayed him then but what other 23 year could put up those kind of numbers being guarded by lebron in his first finals? Durant is a much better player since them and to say that lebron is better just because durant has “never won anything is asinine”. Fact of the matter is durant has a far bigger impact on the game at this point and time while lebron has gotten more and more passive every year.

  • LakeShow

    The Lakers only have 3 more players available than not available.

    That is with recent D-League signee Manny Harris on the roster…

    Good god…

  • bshen

    best article ever

  • Fan of the game

    People talking about greatest scorers from last 2 decades and not mentioning AI? I thought dudes were more serious bball heads here. And KD going into a higher gear as of late is fantastic to see. Keep it up.

  • http://soundcloud.com/tray-8 T-Ray

    Keep in mind LBJ was being guarded by Bruce Bowen (one of the greatest defenders) while having no real second option. Durant at least had Russ and where LBJ is a good defender he is no Bruce Bowen. Durant has no doubt improved since then but I will not get caught in the moment with these recent string of performances he has put up. I will reserve my judgement to say which player impacts the game more. Also, I never said that LBJ is better because Durant “never won anything”. That’s just not a smart observation I’d never make that claim.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    AI was great, but he didn’t have one of those seasons that jumps out at you from an individual level. He was consistently a great great scorer, but he never had one of those oh my goodness type seasons. Even 2000-01

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    everytime i see Bill Russell that far down on yours or anyone’s list, i die a little inside.

  • JJ Jones

    I agree with everything youre saying. I just think that were seeingvthecreal kd for the first time. A lethal scoring machine who has learned to play with westbrook and stopped trying to copy lbj. I still believe that he can play even better considering he could stand to improve on his 3 point shot but well see like u said he has to prove it against lebron and keep this up

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    he’s shooting 41% from 3 on 5 attempts a game….if he improves on that then he’ll be right with Steph Curry in the greatest shooter ever conversation.

  • Max

    I call it
    The Dwight Howard curse!

  • LakeShow

    Through the first 16 games of the season Durant was sitting at 28 ppg on 45% FG’s and 36% 3 pt FG’s.

    Over the next 26 games, he averaged 33ppg on 53% FG’s and 43% 3 pt FG’s.

    His free throws have maintained at 88% all season.

    Overall as of today he stands at 31ppg, 8 rebounds, 5apg, and 1.5stls and .8 block on 50% fg’s 41% 3pt fg’s and 88% FT’s.

  • LakeShow

    Call it want you want. It sucks though haha.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    38-6-6 on 51%/38%/88% over the last 10….

  • LakeShow

    Are we talking about skills/ability or impact on the game?

    As far as impact on the game. He has an argument for GOAT.

    As far as skills/ability, I have him similarly placed with Caboose.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    based on what skills? scoring? anything else? anything at all?

  • LakeShow

    We’ve seen the 38-6-6 line from a few…

    What is so crazy is the closeness to 50-40-90 he is at while doing the 38-6-6…

  • LakeShow

    lol, what?

    He is the greatest defender ever, but he left a lot to be desired as far as scoring goes. Plus he was on some of the most stacked teams of all time and in an era where everybody snagged a ton of rebounds.

  • http://soundcloud.com/tray-8 T-Ray

    I hear ya my man. Either way it’s a treat getting to watch these two guys hoop.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    he definitely did leave a lot to be desired as a scorer…..assuming he was desired to score. he orchestrated Boston’s offense. And he obviously anchored the defense in an era when defense didn’t have anchors. His skillset, specifically compared to the era was off the charts. He didn’t really have the scoring skills that are typical of a great player, but he could dribble like a guard, he could pass like a guard (those days guards, not todays), he moved his feet better than anyone in the league.
    .
    i guess Russell’s intangible skillset is where to me he made up the difference behind in his scoring. But that’s his weakness, every player has one. And unlike those other players, His weakness didn’t hold him back at all.

  • LakeShow

    That’s all true. Solid argument.

    Is he better than KAJ, Shaq, Hakeem or Wilt though? Where is he in your center hierarchy?

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    well i don’t think he has to be in front of anyone, i just don’t like seeing him below 6 because he wore number 6 so that’s his basement number in this small sample of non logic.
    .
    my opinion changes regularly, but for today it goes,

    1)Kareem
    2)Russell
    3)Wilt
    4)Shaq
    5)Hakeem
    6)Moses Malone

  • LakeShow

    Why do you think Moses was better than say, David Robinson?

    Just picking your brain. I’m bored haha.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    don’t worry i love these conversations! how in depth of an answer do you want? or is this going to elude to more questions? either way, i have 60 minutes before i can leave this place.

  • LakeShow

    lol, have to leave about the same time.

    Keep it concise, give me the abridged version lol.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    let’s start with their numbers just to show how truly even they were, this comparison is not going to be about basic stats.
    - http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/pcm_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=1&p1=malonmo01&y1=1995&p2=robinda01&y2=2003
    ———————————————————————————
    Robinson was the better natural athlete, better defender, and better scorer in general. Let me get those out of the way right away.
    .
    Moses on the other hand, was a more dominant player in general. He completely controlled the glass, and dominated the paint in a time when that sort of thing was pretty damn hard to do. (he still is 1st in total offensive rebounds in league history, 4th in defensive rebounds)
    .
    What separates him from Robinson (imo) is in that 4 year stretch from 1978/79-1982/83 where Malone was the best player in the league, won 3 of 4 MVP’s, and finally won a title the season he moved to Philadelphia in 82/83 with the help of Dr J and friends.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J7X4stpElDQ
    .
    Note: i put a lot of stock in how good players were at their peak, assuming said peak lasted longer than 1 or 2 years.

  • JJ Jones

    I just meant in his recent stretch of games before the 54 point burst he was in a bit of a 3-point shooting slump he seems to be turning that around though leading to these ridiculous performances.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Oh wew I thought you meant in general, I was like holy smokes your expectations are high

  • JJ Jones

    Yeah these are imo the two best small forwards to play the game so far.

  • LakeShow

    When I asked, I had no idea how close some of their career numbers were. Of course certain things are far different because they were completely unique. But overall it has quite the possibility for debate.

    Completely agree on your points. Moses’ peak was insane. 25-18, and 31-15 are ridiculous. I think those are in some of the top 10-15 seasons ever convo right there. Shaq’s best season was 30-14-4-.5-3. Robinson’s was 30-11-5-2-3. Good golly…..

    This is certainly a tough debate. The good news is there is no real wrong answer. Thanks for taking the time.

  • Fan of the game

    Disagree.
    At least 3-4seasons jump out to me.
    -rookie season
    -04/05 (really slept on)
    -05/06 (slept on)
    -01/02 & 02/03 were damn good.
    -01 P/O are legendary

    Consistently a great, great player (one of the G.O.A.T.)

  • Fan of the game

    A decent assessment of Russell, not bad.
    Wilt and MJ at their peak balled at a higher level than anyone. No holes barred Wilt ft.

  • davidR

    why not 00-01? the playoff performances might not count, but what he was doing during that playoff run was legendary

  • davidR

    it’s their same problem from last year. no bench.

    these guys might run out of gas down the stretch

  • davidR

    ai doesn’t get the nod?

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Yeah I was just talking over the 82 game regular season. Great playoff runs more often don’t align with regular season mastery

  • LakeShow

    I love AI. The reason why he doesn’t (for me) is he needed many more shot attempts than everyone else to create similar scoring numbers. He scored 31ppg on 28FGA.

    That is AWFUL.

    I mean it’s beautiful. That a 5’10″ dude could score 30ppg in the NBA, but the lack of efficiency is really too much to bump him up with these guys.

    He had wayyyy to many 35 point games on 30+ FGA.

    Doesn’t mean he wasn’t dominant, but he was certainly less dominant.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Yeah no doubt I love these comparisons. I’m pretty sure if you bring in Ewing, Mikan & (Elvin) Hayes the numbers all look pretty dead even. It’s bizarre

  • davidR

    the gift and the curse. yea, efficiency wise he’s not gonna be great.

    but in the grand context, a 5’10” dude that constantly attacked the defense and forced them to always be on their toes, oftentimes as the only offensive option, is pretty crazy. you ALWAYS had to account for him, especially because he always played.

    his efficiency got a lot better when he landed in denver tho

  • LakeShow

    Yeah I appreciate the hell outta him, but that efficiency part is where he damned himself with being compared with the greatest.

  • davidR

    if strictly looking at the numbers, yea. but does the full context bring him back into the discussion?

    i know players have to work with what they’re given, but does AI come with a disclaimer cuz of his size?

  • LakeShow

    He does get a disclaimer, but to me, that doesn’t make him in this conversation. There’s too many pandora’s boxes that can open haha

  • davidR

    russell’s athletic ability is criminally underrated. just a disclaimer tho, i don’t exactly know much from this era, and this is one of only a few clips i’ve seen haha. but gotdamn, this is insane: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j2AlFrOj5Mc

  • Fan of the game

    Forget size. No one (almost no one) had the natural abilities of AI. His touch, his feel, his flow, his instinct, his intelligence on the move, his quickness, his speed, his jump, his explosiveness, his creativity, his spontaneity, it goes on.

    People who don’t recognize (i believe you do) don’t feel the game at a high level. The people of limited natural ability often come up with the tangible, measuring data on how to quantify players. But when your so damn naturally good it can’t be fully quantified. It is intangible.
    Now, i say to anybody (if you got ‘it’ you instinctively know when someone else has got ‘it’ – it being, to me at least, a raw instinct/ a powerful connection between the mind and the body). Most people don’t got it. For those that do, the intangible becomes tangible.

    AI is one of the best to ball, period. Question all the best ballers of all eras, AI would match any of them.

  • LakeShow

    That was a lovely essay, but that has nothing to do with what we have been talking about what-so-ever.

    We are speaking on the greatest lethal scorers of all time. AI has all those things you mentioned, but so does Isaiah Thomas, Jerry West, and Chris Paul etc… AI was special, top 50 all time hands down, but he isn’t in the KB, Shaq, Bird, Durant, category as far as scoring goes, is what we have been speaking on.

  • Fan of the game

    Thank you.
    Yes on Isaiah and Jerry (CP3 not in there class – although he is damn good).
    Greatest lethal scorers? AI not in the same category as KB, Shaq, Bird, Durant as far as scoring goes? In terms of how effortless scoring comes you mean (because that is the only slight distinction between all of them). If 03-04 wasn’t so injury hampered and the coaching situation wasn’t such a disaster AI would have 5 scoring titles (one more than Ice – who everyone is also forgetting in this conversation).

  • Mike From Spain

    I am not saying he is , but I would put my money on Durant making that list when it is all said and done

  • Drig

    I’m not sure whether to laugh hysterically or cry depressingly……

  • LakeShow

    While needing a FAR greater number of shots to get to those scoring numbers.

    There is nothing impressive about 38 points on 35 shots. And that happened far too often to put him up there with the greatest scorers of all time. If they would have taken the same number of shots as AI, they would have far greater scoring numbers.

  • Dfrance

    It always amazes me when there is video clips from back then. lol But that leap was insane

  • Fan of the game

    Your off on this. You don’t get it.

  • LakeShow

    You made a REALLY convincing argument.

    I’ll stick with my facts though, thanks.

  • Fan of the game

    Haha, good one. Keep trying.

  • Fan of the game

    I’m admittedly dissapointed. I thought you understood the game better. 38 pts on 35 shots (that’s not fact so much as random numbers conjured in your head).

  • Dagger

    A belated response:

    The Lakers between the Shaq trade and the arrival of Gasol were too often a bunch of guys standing around watching Kobe do work. Kobe would receive the ball, and nine out of ten times he’d look to score.

    I mean, his USG% in 2005/06 was almost 39%. That is insane. By comparison: even in Cleveland, Lebron never exceeded 34%. Durant’s, right now, is at 32%.

    So Durant’s teammates are doing more than Kobe’s did. And the Thunder are also a better offensive team (and a much better defensive team) than the Lakers were when Kobe was the only real star on the team.

    Which is no indictment of Kobe versus Durant. Rather, it’s an expression of my belief that basketball is at its purest when a team plays as a team. A single player can dominate, but to me that’s much better to watch if he dominates within the context of his entire team playing well.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    how about 30 shots to score 21 points? Iverson shot 30 shots and scored less than 30 points 9 times in his career.
    .
    Iverson was a great scorer, a great great scorer, and he’s underrated by way too many people. But his standing as an all time great is reliant on the use of caveats. Like, “he was so amazing for how small he was. Or he scored so well! for a guy who was by himself
    .
    Iverson was an all time great scorer, but he doesn’t fall into that top of the heap group that could score on anyone so well that they basically won games by themselves.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    04/05 – he shot 25 shots a game to score 30 points. Averaged 7 assists, but turned the ball over almost 5 times a game. It’s hardly an all-time great season. He just played a ton of minutes and shot a ton of shots.

    05/06 – he was one of 4 all time great scorers to have a career year. His being the 3rd most impressive of the 4. (http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/pcm_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=0&p1=iversal01&y1=2006&p2=bryanko01&y2=2006&p3=arenagi01&y3=2006&p4=jamesle01&y4=2006)

    00-01 is his best season. it was great. and he led the Philadelphia to the Finals. But he still only shot 42%, only averaged 4.6 assists a game. And then in the playoffs, luckily he had such a great supporting cast because he came out and shot 39%, taking 30 shots to score 33 points. Which again, is good, but hardly that impressive. The caveat is really what makes people salivate at how good he was, because he scored 33ppg in the playoffs and led a team to the finals, while only being 6’0″ tall. It isn’t an all-time great season in general. But it is the greatest season of all time for a player under 6’2″

  • Fan of the game

    I see your perspective. You fail to see mine.
    It still appears your understanding of the game lacks a certain depth.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    I see your perspective. It just has nothing to do with the conversation the human beings having it are talking about. I hate to break it to you and your obviously over inflated ego, but just because you have a perspective, doesn’t mean it’s relevant. .
    Bye

  • Fan of the game

    Who said 04-05 was an all-time season?
    Again, its all numbers presented. Not good enough.
    So much of the point missed.

  • Fan of the game

    This response and a lot of your other comments indicate otherwise.
    Your view is rather narrow on the game in certain crucial facets. Its ok, we all continue to learn all the time.
    Good luck with your schooling on the game

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    YOU ARE REPLYING TO ME. man, you think you have some unique perspective on basketball and you think that whatever you say is what matters? don’t reply to me if you want to make a point unrelated to mine. Just stop, go hang out at the rucker (that’s where you gained all of this knowledge right? smh) and pretend your opinion is more important than everyone else’s somewhere that nobody can read it.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    lol

  • Fan of the game

    You responded to me. Damn for real?
    And now you’re reaching, grasping at nothing but air. Ha.

  • Fan of the game

    I apologize for getting you so upset. If your online experience has been negatively affected, I’ll keep to my lane (its on a higher plane anyway)

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Me – “AI was great, but he didn’t have one of those seasons that jumps out at you from an individual level. He was consistently a great great scorer, but he never had one of those oh my goodness type seasons. Even 2000-01″

    You – “Disagree.

    At least 3-4seasons jump out to me.
    -rookie season
    -04/05 (really slept on)
    -05/06 (slept on)
    -01/02 & 02/03 were damn good.
    -01 P/O are legendary

    Consistently a great, great player (one of the G.O.A.T.)”

    Me – “04/05 – he shot 25 shots a game to score 30 points. Averaged 7 assists, but turned the ball over almost 5 times a game. It’s hardly an all-time great season. He just played a ton of minutes and shot a ton of shots.”

    You – “Who said 04-05 was an all-time season?”

    —————————————————————————-

    Get it?

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    LOL

    “True wisdom is knowing what you don’t know”

  • LakeShow

    Kobe had the highest Usage % ever that season. Not by much though. .3% off from MJ’s 86-87 season

    But… Let’s not act like it shouldn’t have been the case. It very much so made the most sense.

    When Smush Parker is your third best player, you have no great outside shooters, and you are a top 10 all time player, and one of the greatest 1 on 1 players ever… your usage rate is going to, and should be, very, very high.

    Allen Iverson, Michael Jordan, and Kobe are the three with the highest usage % in history. Three players that we all understand why they would have such a high usage %.

    LeBron is not a 1 on 1 player. 1 on 1 players are the ones with high usage %. His usage % still went up during the playoffs. Over 35% many times…

    Durant is at 36% usage rate since RW went down. This percentage would land him in the top 5 all time for Usage % if it were maintained over a season.

    So while I see what you are pointing out, I just don’t know why you are.

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