With the best record in the Western Conference all wrapped up, the Oklahoma City Thunder do not have anything to play for with the Milwaukee Bucks coming to town tonight. The same cannot be said for Kevin Durant, who had a (very slim) shot at winning his fourth consecutive scoring title.
Rather than risk injury and try to score as much as possible, Durant will be sitting out the last game of the regular season. He posted a picture to his Instagram earlier today that said, “SITTING OUT TONIGHT’S GAME, if you disappointed I didn’t try to go for the scoring title, oh well!!”
Durant will surely hear a few jeers from people who wanted to see him give it a shot, but keep in mind that he would have had to score 70 points to take over the top spot from Carmelo Anthony. Anthony will also be sitting out tonight, meaning he will finish with 28.7 points per game this season, compared to Durant’s 28.1.
It is a very anti-climactic ending to a season-long battle.
In an ideal world, since the Knicks and Thunder start at the same time tonight, the two would be tied going into tonight, they would both play, and both battle it out to add some excitement to a mostly boring night of inconsequential basketball (aside from a few final playoff spots). Actually, in a SUPER ideal world, the Knicks and Thunder would be playing each other tonight, Durant and ‘Melo would be tied and both teams would have something to play for. Alas, that’s not the case.
Anthony played in 14 fewer games this season than Durant because of injury. You can make the argument that is a little unfair, but who is to say Anthony wouldn’t have scored 40-plus in all of those games? Anthony closed out the season strong, averaging 36.1 points per game over his last eight games to pass Durant and take his first ever scoring title.
While I am sure both of these guys would trade the individual award for an NBA Championship, it is a nice piece of hardware to add to the shelf.