Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard duked it out in an epic battle that resulted in a 131-128 overtime victory for Leonard’s Toronto Raptors on Thursday night, a matchup that could potentially be what we see in the NBA Finals come June.
Leonard finished with a season-high 37 points, while Durant posted a monstrous 51-point, 11-rebound, six-assist stat line.
Durant has put up 144 points, 30 rebounds, and 22 assists over his last three games, joining Elgin Baylor as the only other player in NBA history to match those totals in a three-game span. In addition, Durant is the first player since Kobe Bryant in 2007 to score 140+ points in that same stretch of games.
Fans were treated to a thrilling battle between two of the league’s best teams, one that featured a 17-point Warriors comeback, including Kevin Durant drilling a tough corner three over Leonard to tie the game 119 with 8.6 seconds left.
KEVIN DURANT IS UNREAL. pic.twitter.com/tBaR508DQR
— Basketball Society (@BBallSociety_) November 30, 2018
Warriors coach Steve Kerr shared the same sentiment of excitement as the fans, calling the matchup an “incredible” one.
“What a game… An incredible basketball game for the fans to watch. We came up just short.”
Although Stephen Curry and Draymond Green were both absent due to injury, this contest was ripe with all the ingredients of a prospective Finals showdown, and it wouldn’t surprise me if we saw these two teams square off in the summer to decide this year’s NBA champion.
After basically a season of being idle, Leonard has reclaimed his status as one of the top-dogs in the NBA. He and the Raptors pose a serious threat to all foes, as Leonard and Kyle Lowry are supplemented by one of the richest rosters in the league in terms of depth and talent.
As for Durant and the Warriors, they now look forward to the return of Curry on Saturday, as they will travel to Detroit for a game against the Pistons. Golden State went 5-6 without Curry, and hope to regain their championship mojo as we head into December.
We now look forward to the teams’ next and final matchup on Dec. 12 in Oracle Arena, where we hope all members of both parties are fully healthy and ready to go.