It’s official: Kevin Durant wins NBA MVP award for first time

47 Comments

This was expected. Not only had it been pretty obvious, then it leaked, then even his main competition said he deserved it.

Kevin Durant is the NBA’s MVP, the league announced Tuesday.

He is second no more.

Durant won the award going away, collecting 119 of the 125 first place votes (124 of those cast by media members, one by fan vote, you can see the voting results here). The other six went to LeBron James, who finished second in the voting. Those two were well ahead of the rest of the pack.

Blake Griffin of the Clippers finished third, Joakim Noah of the Bulls fourth and James Harden of the Rockets fifth.

Durant averaged 32 points a game (his fourth scoring title in five years) with a ridiculous true shooting percentage of 63.5 percent, while also pulling down 7.4 rebounds and dishing out 5.5 assists per game. More than that, he stepped up his play when Russell Westbrook went down injured, keeping the team at the top of the Western Conference and making them contenders. He was efficient both as a scorer and a playmaker. Yes, the peak of LeBron is a still a better player than Durant, but KD played at his peak all season while LeBron did not (particularly defensively).

Here is a wrap up of the voting (with point totals in parenthesis).

Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City (1,232)
LeBron James, Miami (891)
Blake Griffin, L.A. Clippers (434)
Joakim Noah, Chicago (322)
James Harden, Houston (85)
Stephen Curry, Golden State (66)
Chris Paul, L.A. Clippers (45)
Al Jefferson, Charlotte (34)
Paul George, Indiana (33)
LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland (26)
Kevin Love, Minnesota (25)
Tim Duncan, San Antonio (21)
Tony Parker, San Antonio (21)
Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas (7)
Carmelo Anthony, New York (4)
Goran Dragic, Phoenix (3)
Mike Conley, Memphis (1)

Russell Westbrook on Rockets laughing at Andre Roberson missing free throws: ‘Probably the guys that don’t play’

Leave a comment

The Rockets bench made a big production when an intentionally fouled Andre Roberson kept missing free throws in the Thunder’s Game 4 loss to the Rockets yesterday.

Russell Westbrook stuck up for his teammate.

Royce Young of ESPN:

Westbrook:

I didn’t see it. I didn’t see it at all. Probably the guys that don’t play, probably over there the ones laughing, if I had to guess.

Good guess. It appears Montrezl Harrell and Bobby Brown – whose only playing time this series came late in Houston’s blowout Game 1 win – led the jeers.

But the most important thing for the Thunder is Roberson making his free throws. They need him on the court to defend James Harden, which exposes him to hacking. If Westbrook deflecting attention onto the Rockets’ benchwarmers helps Roberson at the line, great. But if not, the Rockets will keep having reasons to laugh.

Magic Johnson winks at bringing Paul George to Lakers

Leave a comment

Paul George-to-the-Lakers rumors have swirled for a while.

New Lakers president Magic Johnson will only fuel them.

Asked how he’d interact with the Pacers star to avoid tampering if they ran into each other, Johnson said on Jimmy Kimmel Live:

We’re going to say hi, because we know each other. You just can’t say, “Hey, I want you to come to the Lakers,” even though I’m going to be wink-winking like [blinks repeatedly]. You know what that means, right?

In explaining how he’d avoid tampering, Johnson probably tampered. Accidental tampering appears to be his specialty.

The Collective Bargaining Agreement says team employees can’t permissibly “induce, persuade, or attempt to entice, induce or persuade, any Player who is under contract to, or whose exclusive negotiating rights are held by, any other Member of the Association to enter into negotiations for or relating to his services or negotiate or contract for such services.” But the league arbitrarily enforces tampering, so who knows whether he’ll be punished?

Johnson almost certainly could have gotten away with the hypothetical conversation he laid out. But going on television and describing it — even as fantasy, even not directly to George — could constitute tampering in itself,

If Johnson helps attract George to Los Angeles, it’d well be worth it. At least he’s trying something.

Report: Austin Rivers returning for Clippers-Jazz Game 5

Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images
Leave a comment

There have been bigger injuries in the Clippers-Jazz first-round series: Blake Griffin‘s toe, Rudy Gobert‘s knee and Gordon Hayward‘s stomach.

But Clippers guard Austin Rivers has yet to play due to a strained hamstring.

It sounds as if that will change tomorrow.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

This is neither as big a deal as the Clippers will make it out to be nor as meaningless as Rivers’ many detractors will claim.

The 6-foot-4 Rivers will provide an important defensive upgrade on the perimeter. The Clippers haven’t successfully hidden Jamal Crawford and Raymond Felton, allowing Utah too many quality looks. Here how the Jazz have shot when defended by each, per NBA.com:

  • Crawford: 18-of-36 (50%), including 7-of-17 on 3-pointers (41%)
  • Felton: 13-of-24 (54%), including 5-of-8 on 3-pointers (63%)

Rivers needn’t be great to help behind Chris Paul and J.J. Redick.

Rockets bench hams it up over Andre Roberson missed free throw (video)

3 Comments

Russell Westbrook might not want to talk about his supporting cast distinctively, but it’s a real issue for the Thunder, who trail the Rockets 3-1 in their first-round series.

Even Andre Roberson, who has impressively defended James Harden, brings a glaring weakness: free throws. Roberson is 2-for-17 from the line in the playoffs, including 2-for-12 in Game 4 yesterday. Houston even repeatedly intentionally fouled him late.

It was agonizing for all but the most partisan Rockets supporters – though even Houston’s bench, while at least implicitly mocking Roberson, appeared put off that he missed yet again.