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Friday, April 16, 2010

Durant sets record for the ages

Breaks 62-year-old mark to become NBA's youngest scoring champion ever at 21

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) Kevin Durant earned himself a place in NBA history. Without a trip to the playoffs, too, it wouldn't be nearly as special.

News photo
Scoring champ: Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant flies in for a dunk against Memphis on Wednesday night. Durant scored 31 points as the Thunder won 114-105. AP PHOTO

Durant scored 31 points to finish the season as the youngest NBA scoring champion, and the Oklahoma City Thunder survived a sloppy second half to head into the postseason with a 114-105 win Wednesday night against the Memphis Grizzlies.

"It's something I really wasn't coming into the year saying I wanted to get but it feels good to be a part of history and something I'm going to always remember," Durant said. "It feels even better to get 50 wins."

Durant had the scoring title all but locked up after a late-season surge that included three 40-point games in April. It became a certainty when Cleveland decided to rest reigning MVP LeBron James, the only player with even an outside shot at catching Durant.

The 21-year-old finished with an average of 30.1 points, 0.4 ahead of James, and supplanted 22-year-old Max Zaslofsky of the 1947-48 Chicago Stags as the youngest scoring champ in NBA history.

"I love Kevin Durant. I love what he's about," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. "The guy is pretty amazing, that he's able to handle himself at such a young age.

"This is the only time I will say that he's young. He's 21 years old but he handles himself with such class and respect for the game, and he's a great teammate."

Oklahoma City strayed from the league-wide trend of resting stars, even with nothing to gain but the momentum lost while dropping four of their previous five games.

Durant joined three other Oklahoma City starters in playing all 82 games this season, and he eclipsed 30 points for the 47th time this season.

Rudy Gay scored 25 points and Zach Randolph had 21 points and 11 rebounds for his 57th double-double of the season as the Grizzlies lost for the ninth time in their final 11 games.

Bulls 98, Bobcats 89

In Charlotte, Chicago clinched the NBA's last unclaimed playoff spot as Derrick Rose scored 27 points and Joakim Noah added 21 points and 13 rebounds.

Raptors 131, Knicks 113

In Toronto, DeMar DeRozan scored a career-high 24 points and Andrea Bargnani also scored 24 for the Raptors, who owned the tiebreaker with Chicago and would have earned the No. 8 seed had the teams finished with the same record.

Mavericks 96, Spurs 89

In Dallas, Jason Kidd and Jason Terry led a 16-2 run at the end of the first quarter, putting the Mavericks ahead for the game and setting up a first-round playoff matchup between these teams.

Bucks 106, Celtics 95

In Boston, Jerry Stackhouse and Luke Ridnour scored 17 points apiece as Milwaukee won its regular-season finale.

Magic 125, 76ers 111

In Orlando, Jameer Nelson had 21 points, Vince Carter scored 17 and the Magic broke the single-season record for 3-pointers made in a season.

Hawks 99, Cavaliers 83

In Atlanta, Jeff Teague set career highs with 24 points and 15 assists as the Hawks cruised past a Cavaliers lineup missing LeBron James.

Heat 94, Nets 86 (2OT)

In Miami, Michael Beasley had 25 points and 13 rebounds and Mario Chalmers scored 15 points as Miami wrapped up the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference.

The Nets became just the fifth team in NBA history to lose 70 games in a season.

Wizards 98, Pacers 97

In Washington, Andray Blatche scored 26 points for the hosts in a season-ending game for a pair of lottery-bound teams.

Pistons 103, T-Wolves 98

In Minneapolis, Charlie Villanueva scored 13 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter to help Detroit win on the road.

Hornets 123, Rockets 115

In Houston, David West had 35 points and 10 rebounds, and rookie Darren Collison added 26 points and 11 assists to lead New Orleans.

Clippers 107, Lakers 91

In Los Angeles, Steve Blake scored 23 points as part of his first career triple-double and the Clippers beat the Lakers to win the season series for the first time in 18 years.

Suns 100, Jazz 86

In Salt Lake City, Steve Nash had 11 assists in just three quarters, Amare Stoudemire finished with 20 points and seven rebounds, and Phoenix earned the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference.

Warriors 122, Blazers 116

In Portland, Stephen Curry scored 42 points and Golden State finished its season with a victory over the Blazers.

Jordan out in Philly

PHILADELPHIA (AP) Eddie Jordan and his Princeton offense flunked in Philadelphia.

A person familiar with the decision said that Eddie Jordan will be fired Thursday after one season as Philadelphia 76ers coach.

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