Monday NBA Roundup: Kevin Durant’s Return Propels Thunder Back to Elite Status

November 24th, 2015 by Grant Hughes Leave a reply »

Here's hoping the rest of the NBA enjoyed that six-game stretch when the Oklahoma City Thunder, sans Kevin Durant, were the same up-and-down, Russell Westbrook-dependent exhibit of mediocrity they were a year ago.

Because those days are over...again.

Durant returned to the floor in a decisive 111-89 road win over the Utah Jazz on Monday, showing no signs of trouble from the hamstring that cost him a half-dozen contests. He poured in 27 points on just 13 shots, flashing the obscene confidence and rangy bounce we've all come to expect.

There are additional expectations that arise when Durant's healthy—chief among them is our common understanding that the Oklahoma City Thunder will dominate most opponents. Say what you want about Westbrook's statistical heroics last season; the Thunder were barely a .500 squad without their best player. Again, this season, they split their KD-less contests at an even 3-3.

There's no mystery here: When Durant is himself, OKC clearly fills that vacant third spot alongside the San Antonio Spurs and Cleveland Cavaliers among the le ...

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