Will Durant play tonight? Sixers ready either way

Will Durant play tonight? Sixers ready either way
January 25, 2014, 2:30 pm
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Kevin Durant is leading the NBA with 31.0 points per game this season. (USA Today Images)

If it were up to Kevin Durant, history says Sixers fans would see the league’s leading scorer in action tonight.

Durant injured his right shoulder with 5:41 to play in the Thunder’s Wednesday win over San Antonio. Durant scored 15 of his game-high 36 points after the injury occurred.

He did not play Friday in Oklahoma City’s 101-83 win in Boston. When asked about Durant’s status for tonight Thunder head coach Scott Brooks said: “We'll see how he wakes up."

The Sixers must prepare for the worst (Durant plays) and hope for the best (Durant sits).

“I am very aware,” Thaddeus Young said of Durant being in street clothes Friday night. “Hopefully he doesn’t play, but if he does we have to structure our defense to go out there and stop Kevin Durant and make other guys make plays.”

It is a formula 29 NBA teams want to implement but few achieve. Durant averages a league-high 31 points. Four times this season he has been held to less than 20 points with Minnesota holding him to a season-low 13.

But since losing teammate Russell Westbrook to a knee injury Christmas day, Durant has been Superman.

In 15 games, he is averaging 36.4 points and has helped his team take over the top slot in the Western Conference with a record of 34-10.

“He is a different type of beast,” Evan Turner said of Durant’s torrid stretch. “He always has a rhythm. I think he’s been blessed with a system and opportunity because even if he missed 10 straight you still want him to shoot the next one. If he scored below 25 or 27 [Saturday], it would be odd to me.”

Durant shoots 52 percent from the floor and his 41.3 three-point percentage ranks 24th in the league. His 92 made threes are 15th-highest. The numbers say he is a shooting guard in a 6-foot-9 body.

“I have known Kevin since we were in the 10th grade and to see how he has elevated his game, he is well on his way to being one of the all-time greats,” Young said knowing he will draw the defensive assignment should Durant suit up. “He is averaging 37 this month so his play speaks for itself. He is a leader and you just have to find a way to stop him because he is going to get a lot of touches and he will put the ball up a lot of times. He is a superstar in this league.”