Dealing with the best basketball players on the planet, taking for granted how good these guys really are is something we’re all guilty of at one point or another. Even legendary bench warmer Brian Scalabrine is a hooper. So when a day like yesterday happens and a handful of the game’s more prominent names like Stephen Curry, Andre Drummond and Kevin Durant post stat lines producing an automatic double take, paying homage is due.
Stephen Curry – 36 points, 10 assists, 3 steals (14-24 FG, 5-8 3PT); 115-113 W vs. Kings
Here’s the thing. I’m not going to say I’d rather see Steph Curry take a three pointer to potentially win a game as opposed to driving for a layup for the exact same result. But I am going to say if posed that question, I’d think about it longer than most would expect despite a layup being the higher percentage shot. Those games when Curry’s on – I’m talking the nights he’s on, like Sunday, with 12 points in the fourth quarter – there aren’t five better “in-the-zone” players to watch in the solar system because Curry’s officially reached the “gotta see him live” plateau. Seriously, he’s that hypnotizing, but that about does it for my quotational descriptions.
Not for nothing, too, fellow Splash Brother, Klay Thompson, also poured in 28 points of his own, including 8-11 from the land of milk and honey.
Andre Drummond – 31 points, 19 rebounds, 6 steals, 2 blocks (12-15 FG); 115-100 W vs. 76ers
Everyone who follows basketball knows the Pistons are head-over-heels in love with Andre Drummond’s game. It’s why they “took a chance” on him coming out of UConn in 2012 and why eventually many think Greg Monroe will be the odd man out in Detroit’s plethora of talented big men (Dre, Monroe and Josh Smith).
Credit Basketball Reference, too, for changing the game of stats because since the site opened for business, it feels as if the frequency to research the most quirky of box scores and stat lines have become nightly occurrences, like so – “Andre Drummond checks out with 31 pts, 19 reb and 6 stls, the first player to post those numbers in one game since Hakeem Olajuwon in 1990.”
For as insane as Dre’s line was, the damage could have potentially been even more daunting had he not missed 11 of his 18 free throws. But since we’re focusing on the positive, 7-18 from the line (38.9%) is an improvement from his 28.6% on the season.
Kevin Durant – 32 points, 10 rebounds, 12 assists, 4 steals, 4 blocks (14-21 FG, 3-4 3PT); 113-103 W vs. Timberwolves
Fresh off Russell Westbrook’s dramatic game winner - which was only the appetizer of “holy shit” moments the weekend in sports would bring – Durant closed out the holiday festivities with the best all-around performance of the season thus far. Where Drummond’s line placed him in company with Hakeem, Kevin Durant’s line, on the other hand, hasn’t been done since Michael Jordan in 1988 versus his BFF’s (and Drummond’s current team), the Pistons.
KD doing what he did to Minnesota wasn’t surprising. The ‘Wolves handed Oklahoma City an embarrassing loss 100-81 on November 1. KD tallying his fourth career triple-double doesn’t wasn’t either. He’s always been a scorer, but the time he’s taken to focus on the other aspects of his game have taken him to the doorsteps of the “best player in the league” title all at the age of 25. The most amazing tidbit of Kevin’s line, however, is the fact he only took two free throws in 44 minutes. He’s averaging nearly 12 trips to the line a contest.
Also, I can’t be the only one surprised the Thunder are the top rebounding team in the league, right? I just can’t be.