Durant wins first MVP award


The Sports Network

Oklahoma City, OK (SportsNetwork.com) - Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant was named the NBA's Most Valuable Player for the first time Tuesday after capturing his fourth scoring title in five seasons.

Durant received 1,232 points -- including 119 first-place mentions -- from a panel of 124 voters consisting of sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the U.S. and Canada as well as an NBA.com fan vote.

Heat star LeBron James, who won the previous two MVP awards, finished second with 891 points and six first-place votes. Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers (434 points), Joakim Noah of the Chicago Bulls (322 points) and James Harden of the Houston Rockets (85 points) rounded out the top five.

Durant averaged a career-best 32.0 points, joining Wilt Chamberlain, George Gervin and Michael Jordan as the only players to win four scoring titles in five years. He also averaged 7.4 rebounds and 5.5 assists in 81 games.

He shot 50.3 percent from the field, 39.1 percent from 3-point range and 87.3 percent from the foul line, leading all players in free throws made (703) and attempted (805).

During a news conference, Durant thanked people from his teammates sitting on stage to his mother in the audience.

"I've been through the toughest times with my family, but I'm still standing," an emotional Durant said. "My mom, I think she just wanted to get me and my brother out of the house for a couple of hours. When I walked into the gym I fell in love with the game."

Durant noted the first time he walked into a gym he had a Grant Hill jersey on. Hill was in attendance for the MVP speech.

"I just got done playing against him," Durant said. "As a second grader, I had a Pistons Grant Hill jersey. That was the first time I walked into the gym. That's why I fell in love with the game."

Originally, Durant's aspiration wasn't to become an NBA player.

Instead, he wanted to remain close to home.

"My dream was to become a rec league coach," he said. "That's what I wanted to do. I wanted to stay home and help the kids out and be a coach. I love basketball so much, I love playing it. I just never thought I would make it to college, the NBA, or stand up here today in front of you guys and be MVP. It's just a surreal feeling. I've had so much help."

Durant's streak of 41 consecutive games with at least 25 points, which ran from Jan. 7 through April 6, was the longest in the NBA since Oscar Robertson did it in 46 straight games during the 1963-64 season. It's the third-longest single-season streak in NBA history.

A five-time All-Star, Durant led the Thunder to a fourth consecutive Northwest Division title and the second-best record in the NBA (59-23). This past week, Durant guided Oklahoma City past Memphis in the opening round of the playoffs.

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