Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
NEW YORK — The way Kevin Durant is lighting up summer leagues in New York City, he may not want to leave American soil anytime soon.
Durant put up 41 points for The Franchise in a 146-143 overtime victory against Big Apple Basketball Tuesday before a standing-room only crowd in the Nike Pro City League at Baruch College.
The Oklahoma City Thunder forward was coming off a 66-point outburst in the famed Rucker Park Monday night, and has now scored 107 points in two nights in New York City.
Yet Durant said he’s considering going to Europe if the NBA lockout lasts into the fall.
“Yeah, I’m about 50/50 right now,” Durant told SNY.tv before the game at Baruch College. “I just kind of weigh my options and see how this lockout goes. And just stay positive, though, that we’ll have a season.”
Durant said he’s spoken to Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant, who is considering overseas, but he hasn’t talked to Nets point guard Deron Williams, who signed to play in Turkey.
“Guys like that, we’re just waiting to see how this lockout goes,” Durant said. “And hopefully we’ll get back to playing the regular time. So we’ll see what happens.”
As for Tuesday’s game, Durant went for 41 on 9 of 29 from the field and 21 of 23 from the line one night after pouring in 66 points in the Entertainers Basketball Classic.
He fell two points short of the EBC scoring record of 68, set by Steve Burtt Jr. in 2007. Joe (The Destroyer) Hammond holds the park record with 74 points in a game.
“I knew I couldn’t do that [score 66] tonight,” Durant said. “There’s a lot more guys on the pro level on my team tonight, so this really wasn’t like the Rucker, you know what I mean? So I just tried to go out there and tried to help the team get the win.”
Durant went mano-a-mano with Chicago Bulls guard John Lucas III, who scored 60 points on 22-of-41 shooting in a losing effort.
“Everybody should know,” Durant said. “The way he played was unbelievable. He got it easier than I got [Monday] night. My 60 last night, he got an easier 60 than I did. He had a hell of a game.”
Said Big Apple coach Jason Curry: “Obviously, everybody came to see Durant, but John Lucas showed that just from a sheer entertainment standpoint and skill level, he really let the fans go home knowing it was a really mano-a-mano matchup.”
Lucas was competing for a playoff bid, but came up short.
After struggling through much of the second half, Durant hit a 3-pointer from the left wing to tie the game at 137 with 5.7 seconds in regulation.
The game featured several NBA players, including Durant’s teammates Roy Hibbert and Sundiata Gaines.
“It wasn’t just the Kevin Durant Show,” Curry said. “This game it was a lot of high-caliber players, a lot of NBA players.”
The 5-11 Lucas has now lost to Durant on back-to-back nights, having fallen in the Rucker game, too.
“I played against him so I witnessed and I was also a victim of all those shots he was shooting from halfcourt,” Lucas III said.
“I told [Durant Monday] I was going to sleep all day and get ready for tonight because we needed to win this game,” said Lucas III, who once scored 75 points in a high school game. I was going to come out there and play my hardest. I made myself feel like I was in a playoff game, an NBA game.”
As for possibly going overseas, Lucas III said he’s considering it, too.
“Wherever, just as long as I’m playing basketball, that’s all I care about,” he said.
“At the end of the day everybody has to take care of their family so everybody got to look out for them self.”
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.