In his most explosive outing with the Brooklyn Nets, Kevin Durant scored the most points in an NBA game this season, going off for 51 in a 116-104 win over the Pistons on Sunday at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit.
Durant made 16 of 31 shots from the field, including five 3-pointers, and had 9 assists, 7 rebounds and 2 blocked shots to overwhelm the Pistons, who lost for the 12th straight time.
"Kevin was incredible," Nets coach Steve Nash said. "Not an easy night. They played extremely hard. Tons of energy. We were playing different lineups. Think there were different guys out there at different times trying to find the spacing and spots and where to be, and so there were some challenges there for us. For him to be able to score 51 and 9 assists, 7 rebounds, 2 blocks and steal. Unbelievable."
With the Nets using their ninth starting lineup this season -- Harden, Paul Millsap (personal reasons), Joe Harris (left ankle surgery) and Kyrie Irving (not with team) were out -- Durant remained their one constant force.
In 25 games this season, he is leading the NBA in scoring at 29.4 points per game. Milwaukee's Giannis Antetokounmpo is second at 27.3. Curry, who scored 50 points against Atlanta on Nov. 8, is third in scoring at 27.1.Durant and Curry are two of the favorites to win league MVP and the scoring title this season.
For Durant, this was the eighth time in his career that he has scored 50 points but first with the Nets.
Durant said he did not feel added responsibility to score with Harden resting.
"I feel like we got enough scoring," Durant said. "I feel like defensively we come out and stick to the game plan, play physical, then the offense will take care of itself. We went cold there for a second, so I figured that I should be more aggressive."
He made 7 of 8 shots and scored 16 points in the third quarter, including the first 13 points for the Nets in the quarter.
"It was very special," Nets point guard Patty Mills said. "Obviously, special for him, but I think it's special for everyone that was able to take part in that and be up close and personal to what happened tonight."