Kevin Durant passed Kobe Bryant for the lead in the scoring champion race Sunday when the Oklahoma City Thunder lost to the Los Angeles Lakers 114-106 in double overtime.
Durant scored 32 points last night to lengthen his lead over Kobe. Durant is now averaging 27.969 points per game this season and Bryant 27.862.
Durant and Kobe each have one game remaining this season. Durant will play at home against the Nuggets tonight and Kobe closes out his season tomorrow night in Sacramento against he Kings.
Here are the scenarios of what needs to happen for Durant to hang on to the scoring lead.
- If Durant scores 20, Kobe will need 28 to pass him.
- If Durant scores 25, Kobe will need 32 to pass him.
- If Durant scores 30, Kobe will need 36 to tie him exactly.
- If Durant scores 35, Kobe will need 41 to pass him.
- If Durant scores 40, Kobe will need 45 to pass him.
Crazy things have happened in the past in the NBA over winning the scoring championship.
In the 1993-94 season, David Robinson scored 71 points in the final game of the regular season against the Los Angeles Clippers to pass Shaquille O’Neal in the scoring race. Robinson played 44 minutes in the otherwise meaningless game and went 26-for-41 from the field and 18-for-25 at the free throw line.
The closest scoring race ever was in the 1978-79 season between George Gervin and David Thompson. Gervin led 26.8-26.6 entering the final day of the season. Thompson played first and scored 73 points going 28-for-30 from the field and 17-for-20 from the line and pushed his average up to 27.15.
Gervin then would score 63 points later that night including an NBA-record 33 points in the second quarter to regain the scoring title 27.22-27.15.
The race in the next two days between Durant and Kobe could end up being just as close. Durant will play first so Kobe will have the benefit of knowing how much he will need to pass Durant.
Both players seem like they are more concerned with team success at this point in their careers but there is a chance we will be treated to some huge scoring nights from two of the greatest scorers of this generation.