Durant Rallies Thunder to Overtime Win

Once again when his teammate left the court with an injury, Kevin Durant refused to leave the court without a victory.

This time, he snatched a win away from Toronto by converting from 31 feet away as the clock was ticking down in the second overtime.

For the seventh time on the night, Durant was able to bury a 3-point field goal, only this one capped a 119-118 triumph over the Raptors, but the celebration won’t last long.

The familiar sight of its point guard limping to the locker room leaves a huge question mark as Oklahoma City begins its perpetration for the post season.

The Thunder tried to bring All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook along slowly all season, even resting him Thursday night in Cleveland, but he was able to play just 20 minutes, forced to the locker room after colliding with Kyle Lowry.

During the second game of the playoffs last year, Houston guard Patrick Beverley smashed into Westbrook as he was calling timeout.

The encounter forced Westbrook to miss the remainder of the year after he needed surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee.

Prior to training camp, the 25-year-old guard had to undergo a second procedure after he experienced swelling as the result of a loose stitch, resulting in him missing the first two games of the year.

Friday marked the fourth time Kevin Durant has scored 50 or more points in his seven-year career.

Westbrook appeared to be fine, even logging his second triple-double of the season on Christmas Day in New York, but the knee once again experienced swelling and needed another operation to correct the issue.

After the surgery, Westbrook sat out for 28 games and returned to the floor with a limitation on minutes and a mandate that he not play in games on consecutive nights.

Westbrook watched in street clothes as the Thunder defeated the Cavaliers 102-95 on Thursday night.

After Westbrook went into the locker room, Durant took the game over, scoring 28 of his 51 points without his teammate on the floor.

Even with the Raptors defense cheating to try and slow him down, Durant was able to contribute in a multitude of ways.

The 6-foot-9 forward made a season-high seven shots from beyond the 3-point arc, converted 14 times at the free throw line, grabbed 12 rebounds and dished out seven assists, but he still needed an additional 10 minutes to secure the win.

Durant finally ended the game by recovering the ball after Amir Johnson poked it away at half court.

Oklahoma City forward Kevin Durant is averaging 32.2 points, 7.7 rebounds and 5.6 assists this season.

With the clock winding down Durant launched a bomb with Johnson in his face, but the ball splashed through the net, leaving just 1.7 seconds on the clock.

A turnaround jumper from DeMar DeRozan fell short of the rim and the Thunder closed out a three game road trip with another win.

Earlier in the year, Durant torched the Warriors for 54 points and his performance Friday night made him the first player since Dwyane Wade and LeBron James in 2008-09 to score 50 or more points twice in the same season.

Along with leading the league in total points for the fifth consecutive season, Durant has logged the most time on the floor, playing 2,622 minutes this season.

The 25-year-old forward has spent a total of 714 minutes on the bench this season, as coach Scott Brooks tries to soak up each second of his MVP caliber season.

Durant has scored 25 or more points in 33 consecutive games, joining Michael Jordan and Spencer Haywood as the only players in league history with 30 straight such performances.

Jordan holds the record with 40 straight games with 25 or more points, a figure he reached twice during his career.

There’s no telling how many more high scoring performances the team will need form Durant this season, as the status of Westbrook is still uncertain.

Westbrook left the arena without crutches and doesn’t expect to miss any time following a preliminary diagnosis of a sprained knee, but his recent history with knee problems will force the team to proceed cautiously.

Even if he does miss some time, Durant has proven continually he can be successful in any lineup.

Or he can simply knockdown a shot from anywhere on the floor to steal a victory away from another team.

About Brendan Galella

Brendan Galella founded Shatter the Glass to make the NBA even more accessible to basketball fans. Composing player rankings, team evaluations and intriguing observations, he hopes to turn every reader into a dedicated and educated basketball follower.

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