Kevin Durant(notes) hasn’t scored 30 points in any of his last three games, but the Oklahoma City Thunder hope they’re approaching a point where they don’t need a big effort from their All-Star in order to win.
Durant and the Thunder seek their third straight victory and 12th in 14 games Tuesday night when they host the Sacramento Kings.
Durant’s 29.7 points per game rank second in the NBA behind LeBron James(notes), and his 33 30-point games are tops in the league. Oklahoma City (35-23) is 22-11 when its third-year star hits that plateau.
He had his streak of 29 straight games with at least 25 points snapped in a 95-87 loss to San Antonio on Wednesday - the team’s second consecutive defeat following a nine-game winning streak.
Durant has also failed to reach 30 in his last two contests, but the Thunder haven’t needed him to. He scored 25 on Friday in a 109-92 rout of Minnesota, then had 29 on Sunday in 32 minutes as Oklahoma City blew out Toronto 119-99.
“… We have that mindset of trying to be guys that go out and get after it and have that competitive spirit for 48 minutes straight,” Durant said. “That’s our brand of basketball here in Oklahoma City, and that’s how it’s going to be for a long time.”
Several teammates are helping Durant. Jeff Green(notes) has scored at least 16 points in eight of his last nine games, while Russell Westbrook(notes) is averaging 20.5 with 11.0 assists, 6.2 rebounds and two steals over his last six.
“Serge is really developing into a nice player for us,” coach Scott Brooks said after Ibaka had his second double-double Sunday. “He brings energy, toughness and defense.”
Krstic’s highest-scoring game of the season came opening night against Sacramento (20-39). He had 20 points, while Durant scored 25 and Green added 24 in a 102-89 home win.
Sacramento can win a third straight game Tuesday for the first time since a four-game streak Nov. 25-Dec. 2. Two nights after Evans and Beno Udrih(notes) combined for 49 points in a 103-99 win over visiting Utah, Evans had a game-high 22 points - including two late baskets to stretch a one-point lead to five - in a 97-92 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday.
“I like the big shots and I want to take them any chance I can get,” Evans told the NBA’s official Web site. “Ever since I was younger I’ve been hitting big shots.”
Evans has gotten help the past two games from center Spencer Hawes(notes), who didn’t dress against Detroit last Tuesday after criticizing coach Paul Westphal’s rotation. Hawes returned Friday and had 15 points and 12 boards, then scored 16 Sunday - including 10 in the first quarter.