The ESPN and Website headlines about Kevin Durant over the past 31 days have been all about streaks, big numbers, and big names like Jordan, Kobe, Iverson, McGrady, Shaq and LeBron. If those headlines would have substituted those names for guys like Bernard King, Alex English, George Gervin, Karl Malone, Adrian Dantley or even a Michael Adams then you probably would have switched the channel, closed the tab or ignored the link.
Would you have clicked on this link if the title was “Forgotten streaks by Stockton, Moses and King?” I’m sure you would have ignored that link the way the media and many basketball fans ignore history and all of the great players that had great streaks in the past with little recognition. A far cry from the way news is generated and distributed in today’s world of social media.
THE STREAK HAS ENDED
One of the most popular stories in social media today, was the end of Kevin Durant’s magnificent month and 30 point streak. KD could have easily of extended that streak to 13 by scoring 30, probably 40, because he had 26 at the end of the third quarter and only missed 2 field goals in the game. But since OKC didn’t need KD to play in the 4th to get their 10th win a row, there was no reason to keep playing him. Just like in many, many others instances in the past, when a specific player on a specific impressive streak, had it broken because there was no reason to keep playing.
Now, I’m not taking anything away from Durant and his 37 points per game average for the first month of 2014, but I just want to show that if you want to look at it from a numbers standpoint, it’s not as amazing as the media makes it out to be…and don’t worry I’m not going to pull out any stats from the 50’s-70s like 1961 when Wilt scored 30+ in 65 games.
I also want to point out that Durant himself knows the streak isn’t as big of a deal as the media makes it out to be and the only streak that really matters to a winner like Durant is a winning streak.
I mean, it’s not the first time I’ve scored 30 points. I’ve scored in this league before. This is not a stretch where it totally came out of left field. I’m trying to say this as humble as possible, I’m not arrogant at all — but I’ve done it before. I might not have scored 30 in 11 games in a row, but I’ve scored 30 before.
The streak was good while it lasted, but that’s the least of my concerns. It’s easy for me to try to force it to keep the streak alive, but we needed this win because they beat us last time.
(winning) That’s the most important streak.
KEVIN DURANT (JANUARY 2014)
- 37 points per game average
- 12 straight 30+ games
- 5 40+ games
- 1 50+ game
MICHAEL JORDAN (1986 & 1989)
1986: KD averaged 37 for the month and during the 86/87 season, MJ averaged 37 for the entire season. A season that started off with a 50 point game against the Knicks followed by 41 the next night. By the end of the first month of the season he had 5 40+ point games.
The last 2 40 point games turned into a 9 game streak of 40+. After a season low 11, he bounced back for back to back 41 games. Most people would agree scoring 40+ in 11 out of 12 games is more impressive than 30+ for 12 straight.
Later that season, MJ scored 30+ in 15 out of 16 games. That stretch included 6 40+ games including a 58 and 61 point performance.
The next month Jordan scored 40+ in 6 out of 7 games and that stretch included a 56 point game.
Not impressed enough? How about in the last week of the season when Jordan scored 164 points in just 3 games.
The end total for that season was 29 40+ games and 8 50+ games and 0 streaks of 10 games or more of 30+ games.
There’s so many more amazing scoring examples I can give you from MJ but I’m going to talk about an unknown streak that might be me more impressive than any scoring streak of his.
1989: It was March 21, 1989 when Doug Collins wanted to experiment with MJ at point guard. For these 24 games he averaged 29.3ppg, 8.9rpg, 10.6 apg, 2.4spg. Between March 24th and April 14th he recorded a triple double in ten of the eleven games, including seven consecutive ones. In the game he didn’t record a TD, he finished with 40 points, 11 assists and 7 rebounds. That 40 point game was one of his 10 40+ games. He also had 5 50+ games.
BERNARD KING (1984)
Like MJ, King had a lot of great scoring seasons but I’ll just take his best scoring season in 1984. Here’s a few of his streaks.
- 40, 45, 52
- 43, 60
- 40, 46, 29, 55
- 30+ in 13 out of 15 games including 6 40+ games
MOSES MALONE (1981)
Most of the graphics about Durant’s streak only goes back 30 years and that’s why you wont see Moses and his 1981 season on those graphics.
- 33, 31, 53, 45, 47, 33, 38,32, 34, 44, 34, 30, 34 – yes that’s 13 30+ games in a row
- 43, 44, 43
- 39, 31, 41, 46
MICHAEL ADAMS (1990)
Sometimes these streaks happen because of an opportunity. Durant’s opportunity came with Westbrook out. During the 1990 season, it was the one man show of Michael Adams for the Nuggets. Adams has never made an All-NBA team and only made the All-Star team once but in 1990 Adams had a career high 54 points and 5 40+ points during one exceptional All-Star season.
- 37, 34, 41, 37
- 20+pts, 10+asts in 13 out of 14 games
- 31, 37, 41, 45, 31 (also avg 10 assists during this stretch)
DWYANE WADE (2008)
I was avoiding talking about modern players like Iverson and Kobe that are fresh in everybody’s memories but how soon do we all forget how much of an offensive force Wade was before the Big 3.
- 5 days after scoring 50 he went on this streak – 46, 41, 35, 42, 25, 48, 32, 50
- Ended the season with 33, 32, 31, 55
JOHN STOCKTON (1989)
I know you are thinking why is Stockton listed here because he’s never been known to be a big time scorer but he did average 17 a game for one season with some of the best fantasy stats I’ve ever seen and I feel some of the streaks he put together this year deserves some recognition.
- 20/20 in 3 out of 4 games. He had 15 points and 19 assists in the non 20+ assist game.
- He would have 2 more back to back 20 assists games including a 18 point 27 assist game
GLEN RICE (1996)
One of the most underrated scorers of all-time. Glen was on fire during the 96-97 season and even won the All-Star game MVP award after scoring 20 points in the 3rd quarter. Here’s what he did during the regular season.
- 35, 33, 33, 42, 34, 18, 30, 34, 43, 4o
- season high 48
- 2 back to back 40 point games
ADRIAN DANTLEY (1984)
I can’t talk about great scorers without bringing up the great Adrian Dantley
- 39, 37, 40, 43, 23, 40, 31
- 10 40+ games