While everyone was watching the NFC and AFC Championship Games on Sunday, there was some NBA action going on as well. None of the basketball games ended in the fashion that the 49ers-Seahawks game did, but the Thunder’s Kevin Durant was one of many players who put up a fantastic line, something fantasy basketball owners might’ve found just as exciting. The following is a rundown of the best performances from Sunday night in the National Basketball Association:
Five-Star Performance of the Night
» Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder: Man, I wanted to give this to Isaiah Thomas, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it with the Kings coming up empty in the win column, and well, Durant is just on a roll. And that’s an understatement. He’s the best player in fantasy basketball (and the NBA) right now, and doesn’t figure to relinquish that title anytime soon. Coming off a career-high 54 points against the Warriors on Friday, Durant put on an encore performance on Sunday night. Without Russell Westbrook in the Thunder lineup, Durant has taken it upon himself to singlehandedly carry this team to the Promised Land. Durant’s game vs. the Kings didn’t deviate from his norm whatsoever, draining 10-of-15 shots on his way to scoring 30 points, dishing out nine assists, grabbing six boards, blocking two shots and recording a season-high tying four steals. You know he’s on fire when the 30 points he scored last night dropped his January scoring average down from 36.8 to 36.1 points per game.
Four-Star Performance of the Night
» Isaiah Thomas, Sacramento Kings: Thomas is having an amazing season, averaging 19.5 points, 6.2 assists and 1.4 steals. For a player who was going off the board in the seventh round of most fantasy drafts, the Kings’ point guard has proven to be one of the biggest steals – if not the biggest steal – in fantasy basketball this year. He dropped a career-high 38 points on OKC Sunday night, shooting a remarkable 11-for-18 from the floor and made 12-of-13 shots from the line. The point total is so extravagant that I’ll ignore the near blanks he put up in all the other stat categories (six assists, one rebound, zero steals). Since he took over the starting point guard position following Greivis Vasquez’s trade to Toronto, Thomas is averaging 21 points, 7.3 assists, 1.3 steals and 2.4 three-pointers per game.
Three-Star Performance of the Night
» Rajon Rondo, Boston Celtics: The box score won’t stand out, but Rondo’s game on Sunday was an important one for the Celtics – and for his fantasy owners. Rondo returned Friday for the first time since undergoing surgery to repair his ACL on February 12 of last year, and was given strict minute limitations by Coach Brad Stevens. For the next week he was not supposed to exceed more than 20 minutes in game, but on Sunday he played 21. The stats themselves weren’t anything special – six points (3-10 FG), four assists, six rebounds) – but the fact that he, and coach Stevens, had the confidence to allow him to play that one extra minute says a lot for his value going forward. As a comparison, the Hawks’ Lou Williams, who was also recovering from an ACL tear, didn’t break the 20-minute barrier until his fourth game back. In two games, Rondo has looked quick and explosive and hasn’t showed the hesitation that you’d expect from a player who was on the sidelines for the last 11 months. The minutes will come, and along with that will come the stats we’ve grown accustomed to expect from the Celtics’ All-Star point guard.