The race for the 2012-13 scoring title came down to the wire, with Kevin Durant (28.1) ceding the title to Carmelo Anthony (28.7) by not playing on the final day of the season. Durant, who has won the scoring title in each of the last three years, joined the vaunted 50/40/90 club, but 'Melo has mounted a late challenge, averaging 36.9 points in April. Here's a look back at some of the other close scoring races in NBA history.
2 of 8Greg Nelson/SI
Kevin Durant vs. Kobe Bryant
With one Lakers game left, Durant (28.03 points per game) led Bryant (27.86). Durant finished his season with 32 points in a loss to the Nuggets on Wednesday. Bryant would've needed 38 against the Kings -- a team he had scored 29 and 38 points against in two games that season -- but he decided to sit out and rest for the playoffs. Durant became the first player since Michael Jordan (1995-98) to win three straight scoring titles.
3 of 8Greg Nelson/SI
Kevin Durant vs. LeBron James
Durant's first scoring title didn't come down to the last day, but it was fairly close. He edged LeBron James 30.15 to 29.71. Durant averaged 34.6 over the final month to wrap up the title before the Thunder's finale. James sat the final four games of the season to rest up for the playoffs. Durant, then 21, became the youngest scoring champion ever. James would be runner-up three straight seasons from 2008-11.
4 of 8Tony Ranze/AFP/Getty Images/Mark J. Terrill/AP
Allen Iverson vs. Shaquille O'Neal
The last time the NBA played a 50-game season, the scoring race came down to the final day. Iverson entered with the lead and scored 33 points against the Pistons (aided by overtime). O'Neal would need to post 40 later against the Trail Blazers. Shaq was held to 18 in 32 minutes by the likes of Kelvin Cato and lost to Iverson 26.75 to 26.31.
5 of 8Keith Birmingham/Zuma Press
Michael Jordan vs. Shaquille O'Neal
O'Neal also came up short the previous season. Michael Jordan's record 10th and final scoring crown was his closest -- 28.74 to 28.32 over Shaq. After Jordan finished his season with a 44-point effort, it came down to the Lakers' finale. O'Neal needed 59 points. He scored 33. "I've already won a scoring title," O'Neal told the <italics>Associated Press </italics>after falling short. "I want that jewelry. That's all I want." He wouldn't get it. Jordan's Bulls won their sixth championship that season.
6 of 8David E. Klutho/SI/Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images
David Robinson vs. Shaquille O'Neal
To O'Neal's credit, he did win scoring titles in 1995 and 2000. But he came up on the wrong end of every close race in his career, the first of which came in his second season, when the Spurs and Magic both had games on the final day of the season. Robinson played first that day and entered with a four-point deficit. The Admiral erased it, as well as any doubt, with a career- and franchise-high 71 points (26-of-41 in 44 minutes) against the Clippers' formidable frontcourt of Elmore Spencer, Bob Martin and John Williams (not Hot Rod). No other Spur had more than eight points. O'Neal had 32 later that night against the Nets, giving Robinson the title, 29.79 to 29.35. "I heard that no defense was played," O'Neal said of the Spurs' finale to the<italics> Associated Press</italics>. "No triple teams occurred and they ran every play to [Robinson]. If that would happen down here, I would have 70 points, too."
7 of 8Andrew D. Bernstein/NBA via Getty Images/Manny Millan/Damian Strohmeyer/SI
Dominique Wilkins vs. Adrian Dantley vs. Alex English
Wilkins capped his only scoring title with 34 points in the Hawks' last game. He finished with 30.33 points per game. Adrian Dantley (29.83) and Alex English (29.80) were held out of their head-to-head finale with injuries. Wilkins seized control of the close race anyway with a season-high 57 points in his next to last game, surpassing Dantley. Had they played, Dantley would have needed to outscore Wilkins by 35 points, and English needed 39.
8 of 8Manny Millan/SI/Vernon Biever/NBAE via Getty Images
George Gervin vs. David Thompson
The closest scoring race came when Gervin (27.22) edged Thompson (27.15) during the 1977-78 season. Of course, it came down to the final day -- April 9, 1978. Gervin took a slim lead into their finales, with Thompson playing first. Thompson scored 32 points in the first quarter against the Pistons, an NBA record. He had 53 at halftime and 73 at the buzzer. Only Wilt Chamberlain had scored more points in a game. Gervin would need 58 points against the Jazz later that night. The Iceman, too, came out firing with 20 points in the first and 33 more in the second. Thompson's record was gone in a matter of hours. Gervin finished with 63 to win a wild scoring race.
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