After being questioned on his play in games one and two of the series, the reigning NBA Finals MVP — “I’m Kevin Durant. You know who I am” — put the dagger in the heart of Los Angeles Clippers and anti-Durant fans by dropping a playoff career-high 50 points in Golden State’s series-clinching 129-110 win last night. He made the necessary adjustments to how the Clippers were defending him and went on to average 41.5 points on 57 percent shooting throughout the final four games of the series.
Following Damian Lillard’s incredible performance on Tuesday night, Durant became the second player in NBA Playoff history to score 50 points in a series-clinching win on Friday.
Of Golden State’s 72 first-half points, Durant scored 38 of them — this included multiple in-rhythm threes, a variety of turnaround jumpers, and easy looks around the rim on drives — which tied Charles Barkley for the most points ever produced in a single half in the postseason.
Durant reached the 50 mark by shooting 15-for-26 from the field, 6-for-14 from three, and 14-for-15 from the line. He also grabbed six rebounds and dished out five assists.
While it’s unclear if his time in Golden State will extend beyond this season, Durant is once again playing his best basketball of the season when it matters the most for the Warriors. Given the serious concern over Klay Thompson’s ankle, the wounded Warriors will need Durant to keep this up next round if they want a chance at the four-peat.
Golden State’s second round series against the Houston Rockets begins at home on Sunday (2:30 Central; ABC).