There’s nothing like being a fan of an NBA team and watching your superstar put on a scoring binge in a big game. Last night as the Los Angeles Clippers wrestled out of the Golden State Warriors’ chokehold to win Game 5 in Oracle Arena, it was clear the Dubs were leaning on Kevin Durant to carry them.
Durant responded to that urgent cry with a monstrous performance: 45 points, 14-of-26 shooting from the field, 5-of-12 from downtown, 6 rebounds, 6 assists, and 2 steals. He was the only starter with a positive plus/minus with +2. He probably sang the national anthem, served popcorn at halftime, and ushered folks back to BART after the game. WAS THAT AGGRESSIVE ENOUGH FOR YOU KD HATERS? Sheesh.
Yet, it wasn’t enough as the Warriors prolific offense couldn’t bail out water as fast their shipwrecked defense was taking it in. As I rewatched Durant’s ridiculous highlights, a thought crossed my mind: what’s the Warriors record when KD drops 40 points or more?
Per Basketball-Reference, Durant has delivered 11 such games in the name of the Golden Empire. But the dynasty has only prevailed in 5 of those contests. Here’s the complete list of those games (minus last night’s Clippers loss).
KD’s 40+ point games as a Dub that resulted in victories
- 40 points on 01/18/2017 as Warriors win vs Thunder, 121-100
- 43 points on 06/06/2018 as Warriors win vs Cavaliers, 110-102 (Game 3 Finals)
- 41 points on 10/26/2018 as Warriors win @ Knicks, 128-100
- 44 points on 11/24/2018 as Warriors win vs Kings, 117-116
- 49 on 11/26/2018 as Warriors win vs Magic, 116-110
KD’s 40+ point games as a Dub that resulted in defeat
- 40 points on 01/10/2018 as Warriors lose vs Clippers, 125-106
- 50 points on 02/14/2018 as Warriors lose @ Blazers, 123-117
- 40 points on 03/09/2018 as Warriors lose @ Blazers, 125-108
- 41 points on 04/07/2018 as Warriors lose vs Pelicans 126-120
- 51 points on 11/29/18. Warriors lose @ Raptors, 131-128
Durant is capable of individually going supernova on any night, but has confessed that he’d prefer to blend his talents into the Warriors’ deadly schemes. There’s definitely a fine line between taking over the games with scoring or passing, and he’s equally adept at both. I just can’t help but feeling like the KD 40-point games are the basketball equivalent of the “Break In Case of Emergency” box.
Preferably, the Warriors wouldn’t need to spam Durant to bail them out of dicey situations, but what a luxury to have when things do go haywire. Hopefully, the Warriors continue to use that luxury to their advantage and finish off the Clippers in their next opportunity.