OKLAHOMA CITY – All eyes will be on Kevin Durant.
Folks are wondering if the Oklahoma City Thunder swingman will attempt to top LeBron James career-high scoring effort during Tuesday night’s game against the 76ers at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
James scored 61 points on Monday to lead the Miami Heat to a 124-107 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats. Durant is the frontrunner to win this season’s MVP award, with James a close second. So there’s a thought that Durant might try to score 62 or more points to keep his edge over the Heat forward.
“We’d all be pretty naïve to not think that he wasn’t aware of LeBron’s outburst,” Sixers coach Brett Brown said.
The swingman is averaging a league-leading 31.6 points per game along with 7.7 rebounds, 5.6 assists and 1.5 steals. Durant had a scare in Sunday night's 116-99 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats. He twisted his left ankle in the second quarter when he stepped on Gerald Henderson's foot.
After walking it off, Durant finished with 28 points, six rebounds, and five assists.
While it would make for a good story, odds are that Durant won’t try to outshine James at the struggling Sixers’ expense.
Durant “amazes because how grounded he is,” said Brown, whose Sixers (14-45) have lost 14 consecutive games. “He’s so grounded and he can have whatever he wants. And he just carries himself with a class and integrity and gets in done on the court. It’s quite an amazing package.”
While all that’s true, it won’t stop people from wondering what he’ll do Tuesday night.
“Some of the stuff that [James] did and the way he had it cooking last night was crazy,” Sixers guard James Anderson said. “Hopefully, KD doesn’t come out and try to top that tonight.”
Durant had game highs of 32 points and 14 rebounds when the Thunder defeated the Sixers 103-91 on Jan. 25 at the Wells Fargo Center.
Follow and contact Inquirer 76ers beat writer Keith Pompey on Twitter @PompeyOnSixers