Kevin Durant surpassed Michael Jordan’s feat by scoring 25 points in 17 consecutive games to start a season… and is now chasing Elgin Baylor, Rick Barry, and Wilt Chamberlain.
On the night that saw Kyrie Irving come back from his Nets-imposed suspension, Kevin Durant decided it was a good time to enter the history books of the Association by dethroning its own Airness.
There are at least two things in that prior sentence that beg to question. One, when is it not a good time for Durant to drop two or twelve buckets? And two, did Durant really enter any actual history books?
The answer to the first question is simple: no, there never was and never will be a moment in which Durant doesn’t find joy in putting rims on fire.
The answer to the second one: yes, and no. Durant has now scored 25 or more points in 17 consecutive games to start a season. Michael Jordan strung 16 such games all the way back in the 1988-89 campaign after doing it for 13 consecutive matchups a year earlier in the 1987 winter/fall season.
Durant might have overtaken Michael Jordan but that just allowed him to claim the top stop among players from the “modern” era. Even then and although it has not been widely reported by the mass media, Durant’s 17-game streak only served him to tie Bradley Beal’s such streak in the 2020-21 season.
Still leading the way in the all-time least are three men and four seasons:
- Elgin Baylor: 22 games in the 1961-62 season
- Rick Barry: 25 games, 1966-67
- Wilt Chamberlain: 26 games, 1962-63
- Wilt Chamberlain: 80 games, 1961-62
That above is most definitively not a typo, folks.
Durant might be one game away from becoming the Ultimate Modern-Era Human Streaker but when it comes to actual basketball players that 80-game run put together by Wilt seems untouchable at the very, very least.
This feat is a surefire, golden-letter-type achievement for Kevin Durant, though, so it’s time to celebrate. Digging a bit deeper through the historical numbers that allowed Durant to reach this point, the outcomes are truly marvelous.
In a search for the true Durant Uniqueness (Duriqueness?), streaks can be limited to only the first 17 games of any single season played by someone in the history of the L.
The first thing that pops up that search is a very interesting one: Bradley Beal didn’t really achieved the 17-game feat in the actual first 17 games of the season. He scored 25+ points in nine consecutive games, then missed one against Miami, and finally proceeded to dump at least 26 in the next eight games played by the Wiz wrapping it all up with a 32-point outing at Miami on Feb. 5th.
Durant 1-0 Beal. Sorry, Brad.
There is no shortage of talent in the group of players Durant joined on Sunday
Keeping this analysis going, Mike can be mercifully added to the group of five players that really reached 17 games (instead of 16) hitting 25+ pops just to compare him to the true great of the streaking game. Here are some interesting golden nuggets from that query:
- Kevin Durant reached his 17-game streak with the fewest points (516) among those in this group. That includes Jordan (583) even though he played one fewer match to reach his 16-game mark.
- Durant was the third-best shooter with a field-goal percentage of 53.1% only behind Wilt’s 53.7 percent and Jordan’s 58 percent.
- Jordan shot better percentages from beyond the arc (34.8 percent ) than Durant (33.3 percent) albeit on a much lower volume (23 3PA to Durant’s 75).
- Durant scored the second-fewest points from the free-throw line with 145. Jordan ended his run at 125. Rick Barry led the way with 187 freebies.
- Durant has been ruthless from the charity stripe: he’s hit 91.8 percent of the shots he’s taken while no other player in the six-man list topped an 82.8 percent success rate (and that was Jordan).
- Not only did Durant drop points in bunches, but he also dished out the most assists (90) among players into the 17-game realm followed by Rick Barry at a distant 71. MJ assisted 95 baskets in his 16 games.
- Durant edged Jordan 30 to 21 in blocks, although he lost the steal battle by a massive 14 to 55.
Honestly, pick your poison. Its impossible to come up with a single winner.
Durant made (modern game) history by breaking Jordan’s 16-game record after putting up 26 on the scoreboard last Sunday, and reaching that point surely wasn’t easy. He can still keep adding to his tally and he’ll have that chance tomorrow when the Nets visit Philadelphia for a very saucy matchup between Ben Simmons and his former team.
Be sure to tune in and witness history in the making.