If he had decided to play, Kobe Bryant would have needed to score at least 38 points at Sacramento to win the scoring title over Kevin Durant. It would be Bryant’s third title, as he won it in 2004-05 averaging 35.4 points per game (the highest average since Michael Jordan averaged 37.1 in 1986-87), and in 2005-06 averaging 31.6.
But Bryant is sitting out long with Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol, making Durant the first player to win three consecutive scoring titles since Jordan in ’96, ’97 and ’98.
Durant’s average is 28.03 points. Bryant’s is 27.86 ppg. As of now, this is the second closest scoring race in league history. The tightest scoring race occurred in 1977-78, when San Antonio’s George Gervin (27.22 ppg) edged Denver’s David Thompson (27.15 ppg) by .07 ppg.
Here are the playoff scenarios heading into tonight’s games.
- Chicago clinches homecourt advantage throughout the playoffs if the Bulls win or the Spurs lose.
- San Antonio clinches homecourt advantage throughout the playoffs if the Spurs win and the Bulls lose.
- Boston will have homecourt in the first round if the Celtics win and the Hawks lose.
- Atlanta will have homecourt in the first round if the Hawks win or the Celtics lose.
- New York will be seeded seventh if the Knicks win or the Sixers lose; or eighth if the Knicks lose and the Sixers win.
- Philadelphia will be seeded seventh if the Sixers win and the Knicks lose; eighth if the Sixers lose or the Knicks win.
- The Los Angeles Clippers will be seeded fourth if the Grizzlies lose; or fifth if the Grizzlies win.
- Memphis will be seeded fourth if the Grizzlies win or fifth if they lose.
- Denver will be seeded sixth if the Nuggets win or the Mavericks lose; seventh if the Nuggets lose and the Mavs win.
- Dallas will be seeded sixth if Mavericks win and Nuggets lose; or seventh if the Mavericks lose or the Nuggets win.