words // Brandon Richard
Facing stiff competition from New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony, it was Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder who emerged as the Eastbay NBA Player of the Week. The reason? Sheer quality of wins. Both the Knicks and Thunder went 4-0 on the week, but the Thunder rolled off three very impressive wins against Western Conference contenders and potential playoff foes. Durant played a key role in OKC’s big week, averaging 30 points and 6.8 rebounds per game.
Durant scored at a high level in each of the team’s four games, but nothing gets as big as sniping the defending champion Los Angles Lakers in their gym. Poised to get the Lakers back on the winning track, Kobe Bryant poured in 31 points, but Durant matched with 31 of his own. The efficiency of Durant’s night is what really bothered the Lakers. He connected on 11 of his 15 shots from the field and knocked down all eight of his free throws to rack up the 31 en route to a 120-106 win. With the victory, Oklahoma City is still within striking distance of landing the third seed out west.
Surprisingly, this is the first time Durant has walked away with Eastbay Player of the Week honors this season, while teammate Russell Westbrook has gotten the nod on three occasions.
Kevin Durant shoots over Andrew Bynum in the Nike Zoom KD III.