Thunder coach Scott Brooks: Kevin Durant could score more if necessary
But Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks said the 6-9 forward could put up even bigger point totals if that's what his team needed to win.
"Let's face it: If he wanted to score a bunch of points or more than he's scoring now, he really could do that," Brooks told Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com before Durant scored 27 points in a 114-110 loss to the Lakers in L.A. on Sunday. "His assist level has gone up, he impacts the game. Defensively, he impacts the game. He can guard 1 through 5. So a lot of things that he does [are] all about the team."
Durant, who leads the league with 10 40-point games this season, showed his all-around game on Sunday with his third triple-double of the season. He needed only three quarters to reach the mark and finished with 10 rebounds and 12 assists.
In addition to averaging a career-high in points this season, the 25-year-old is averaging a career-best 5.6 assists per game and 1.4 steals. He's shooting 50.8 percent from the field, only slightly behind is career high of 51 percent last season.
"When [Russell Westbrook] was out, [Durant] definitely had to continue to lead us," Brooks said. "Not only on the court, but off the court. Just from the emotional standpoint of losing Russell, he had to wrap that type of stress around his game and continue to work our way as a team through that. It's not easy losing players, [especially] a dynamic player like Russell is. But Kevin came in and led us.SI WIRE: Report: Cavaliers believe LeBron James may return
"He improved his defense and his playmaking, the ball was in his hands and the decisions were more so in his hands and he did a good job with that. With adding Russell now, it gives us two dynamic players, and that's better. That's better for us because you can't load up on one. The thing about KD, he knows that he has the ability to impact the game on both ends and he does it every night. The consistency level that he has, it's remarkable that he's so consistent every night."