How does Durant measure up to mid-2000s Kobe?
By Thomas J. Harrigan, Fantasy Sports Writer
Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant's streak of 11 straight games with at least 30 points made me reminiscent of some of the havoc Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant wreaked in the past decade.
Mid-2000s Kobe was utterly lethal, especially after Los Angeles traded Shaquille O'Neal to the Miami Heat for spare parts and Bryant could be as selfish as he wanted.
Who was going to stop him, Smush Parker?
Three times from 2003 to 2007, Bryant put together 16-plus-game stretches in which he averaged 40-plus points per game, with the longest such span coming in 23 games from Dec. 10, 2005 to Jan. 31, 2006.
During that timeframe, Bryant's longest streak of 30-point games was just seven, but he averaged 40.4 points per game because he scored 30 points 19 times, 40 points 11 times, 50 points four times and 60 points twice. His legendary 81-point game came on Jan. 22, 2006 against the Toronto Raptors.
Even more impressive was a string of 16 straight games with at least 30 points that came from Jan. 29 to Feb. 23, 2003, which landed Bryant on the cover of the March 3, 2003 issue of Sports Illustrated. Included within that streak were nine consecutive 40-point games.
Bryant also averaged 40.3 points per game while scoring 50-plus points seven times across 17 games from March 16 to April 18, 2007.
Durant has generated 38.5 points per game during his ongoing streak of 30- point games, so he's not quite in Bryant's atmosphere yet.
However, Durant does have something on Kobe -- his streak hasn't taken nearly as much volume as Bryant needed in the three stretches above.
Bryant hoisted 29.3 field goals per game from Jan. 29 to Feb. 23, 2003, 27.5 per game from Dec. 10, 2005 to Jan. 31, 2006 and 29.8 per game from March 16 to April 18, 2007. During those stretches, he recorded field-goal percentages of .475, .468 and .473, respectively.
Durant has attempted just 22.8 field goals per game and made 54.6 percent over his last 11 games.
Still, the Thunder forward needs to average 42.2 points per game over the next 12 contests to match Bryant's 2005-06 23-game insanity, and he has five 30- point games to go to duplicate Bryant's 16-game streak in 2003.
01/28 17:21:23 ET