Oklahoma City Thunder Getting Inside 2009-01-31

Kevin Durant's name wasn't called when All-Star team reserves were named Thursday night. He didn't think it would be, but the fact many have touted the second-year forward as All-Star worthy served as validation of the season he's put together.

"Just to be in the conversation for a young guy like me feels good," the 20-year-old said. "It just pushes me to work harder and help this team get better. I'm excited to be playing in the rookie-sophomore game and be part of All-Star weekend."

Durant is sixth in the league in scoring and third in the Western Conference, trailing just Kobe Bryant and Dirk Nowitzki. They were both in the NBA at 20, but didn't come close to putting up the numbers Durant has this season.

The Texas product went into Friday averaging 24.7 points. And he's been even better in January, averaging 27.7 points and 8.7 rebounds.

"We are watching this guy develop in front of our eyes and we're seeing good things," said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. "It's all directly a result of how hard he works.

"He is obviously a talented player, but that will only get you so far. He uses his talent along with his work ethic and he's a self-motivated kid. Those combinations are what make winning basketball players."

JAZZ 110, THUNDER 90: Kevin Durant scored 29 points but it wasn't enough Friday night in Utah as the Jazz pulled away for an easy win. Oklahoma City fell to 11-36, but is 6-4 in its last 10 games.

Russell Westbrook scored 20 for the Thunder, which was outscored by 18 points in the second and third quarters. Jeff Green (11 points) was the only other Oklahoma City player in double-figures. Durant added 10 rebounds.

Jazz point guard Deron Williams has 24 points and 12 assists as Utah snapped a four-game losing streak. Mehmet Okur scored 20, while Paul Millsap has 16 points and nine rebounds.

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: January 31, 2009