Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant on 25-point streak: ‘I wish it was over’


Poor Kevin Durant.

The Thunder forward has now scored 25 points in 41 consecutive games, moving past Michael Jordan for the second-longest such streak ever. Only Wilt Chamberlain’s 126-game run was longer.

Sounds awful for Durant, right?

Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman:

If Durant carries the streak to the end of the regular season, he’ll be forced to answer about its eventual end twice. First, a team will hold him under 25 in the playoffs. Then, because postseason games don’t officially count toward such streaks, a team will hold him under 25 next season.

It’s a lot of tedious questions to someone who has repeatedly shied from comparisons to other players.

But the Thunder have been better when Durant scores 25 (47-17, .734) than when he doesn’t (8-4, .667). So, I suspect he’ll suck it up and keep scoring if that’s what his team needs.

And if he wants to harmlessly end the streak, a solution might soon present itself soon.

Oklahoma City trails the Spurs by 4.5 games for the No. 1 seed and leads the Clippers by two games in the loss column for the No. 3 seed. The Thunder might have a meaningless game to close the season next week, and if they do, Durant could start it, get in a brief sweat and then sit the rest of the contest.

Quietly, the streak would end, and Durant could focus on the playoffs as he’d like.

However, to get into that position, Oklahoma City would likely need to win most, if not all, its games this week. For that to happen, Durant might need to give the Thunder a few more 25-point outings.

Slimmed-down Kyle Lowry scores 26, Raptors beat Clippers

DeAndre Jordan, Wesley Johnson, Kyle Lowry
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VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) Kyle Lowry scored 26 points in 21 minutes, leading the Toronto Raptors to a 93-73 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday night in a preseason game.

The All-Star point guard, who arrived at training camp noticeably slimmer after a summer of healthy eating and grueling workouts, shot 7 for 10 from the field and 11 for 12 from the free throw line.

JJ Redick led the Clippers with 15 points, while Blake Griffin – who knocked the shot clock off its mooring with a thunderous dunk during warmups – added 14.

CLIPPERS: Paul Pierce made his only shot and scored two points in 9 minutes off the bench. He was booed after leading the Washington Wizards to a sweep of the Raptors in last season’s playoffs.

RAPTORS: Jonas Valanciunas, fresh off a strong EuroBasket performance in helping Lithuania earn an Olympic berth, had 10 points and 12 rebounds. Luis Scola scored 13 points and DeMar DeRozan finished with 11.

NEWCOMERS: Offseason acquisitions DeMarre Carroll, Bismack Biyombo, Scola, and Canadian Cory Joseph all had solid debuts for the Raptors.

BACK IN VANCOUVER: The game drew a capacity crowd of 19,000 that included former Vancouver Grizzlies guard Mike Bibby. The Grizzlies played in Vancouver for six seasons before moving to Memphis.

“It’s an amazing city,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “Without saying too much, I miss Vancouver. It’s just a great city, it really is. It’s vibrant, it’s just nice. Deserves a team, along with Seattle.”

UP NEXT: The Clippers open a two-game series against Charlotte in China next Sunday. The Raptors play the Golden State Warriors in San Jose, California on Monday.

Kobe Bryant returns as Jazz beat Lakers 90-71 in preseason

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HONOLULU (AP) Kobe Bryant scored five points in his first action since undergoing surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff in the Los Angeles Lakers’ 90-71 loss to the Utah Jazz on Sunday.

Bryant was 1 of 5 from the field, with his only made basket coming on a 3-pointer from the left corner. He made both of his free throw attempts.

Derrick Favors had 16 points and nine rebounds for the Jazz in the preseason opener for both teams.

JAZZ: Favors scored 12 points in the first half. Gordon Hayward added 11 points and nine rebounds, Rudy Gobert had 10 points and eight boards, and Trey Burke added 10 points.

LAKERS: Guard Lou Williams, who won NBA Sixth Man of the Year honors with Toronto last season, scored 14 points off the bench. Nick Young was the only other Los Angeles player to score in double figures, finishing with 10 points.

BRYANT’S BACK: Bryant played the entire first quarter and sat the rest of the way despite numerous second-half chants of “Kobe! Kobe!” by the sellout crowd of 10,300 at the Stan Sheriff Center. His first shot, a jumper from the corner, hit the side of the backboard.

“I felt good. It felt good to get out there,” Bryant said. “(My legs) feel strong, I didn’t feel tired at all. It’s just about getting the timing down.”

ANOTHER RETURN: Lakers forward Julius Randle started and played 21 minutes, finishing with seven points and seven rebounds. Randle, the seventh overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft, broke his right tibia in last year’s season opener and missed the rest of the season.

ROOKIE WATCH: D'Angelo Russell, the No. 2 overall pick, started at point guard and finished with five points, three rebounds, two assists, two turnovers and a steal in 21 minutes.

UP NEXT: The teams will rematch Tuesday night in Honolulu.