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Nightly Grades 1.11.13: Kevin Durant is a flamethrower

By Zach Harper | NBA writer
Kevin Durant absolutely dominated the Lakers. (Getty Images)

Each night, Eye on Basketball brings you what you need to know about the games of the NBA. From great performances to terrible clock management, the report card evaluates and eviscerates the good, the bad and the ugly from the night that was.

Kevin DurantIt's a shame the Lakers couldn't make a game of it against the Thunder because Kevin Durant could have dropped an even more insane number than he ended up getting. Durant had 42 points on 15-of-25 shooting in 39 minutes of play. Scott Brooks took KD out with 4:26 left in the game and OKC up 25 points. Otherwise, they might have involved Durant more throughout the fourth and let him approach 50 or even 60 points.
Damian LillardThe Warriors were blowing the Blazers out of the water in Oakland for most of this game. Then Damian Lillard happened, and Golden State needed to execute down the stretch to pull out a narrow victory. Lillard made 10 straight baskets at one point to help him rack up 37 points. At the 7:30 mark of the third quarter, he missed a jumper; he didn't miss again until 4:52 remained in the fourth quarter. Unfortunately for the rookie, it wasn't enough to win.
New York KnicksIf the Knicks hadn't had such a big fourth quarter, they'd probably be on academic probation. New York needed a 41-point, 66.7 percent shooting effort in the fourth quarter to make this even remotely interesting. Before that late push, the Knicks were down 22 points and shooting just 33.3 percent from the field. Carmelo Anthony had 19 points in the fourth to help get it to respectability.
LaMarcus Aldridge and Wes Matthews Damian Lillard was awesome, but two of his teammates certainly weren't. Aldridge and Matthews combined for just 17 points on 6-of-28 shooting. Aldridge had seven points, six rebounds and five assists while shooting 3-of-14. Matthews had 10 points and nine rebounds but shot just 3-of-15 from the field and 2-of-11 from 3-point range. Lillard needs more help than that, especially on the road.
Denver Nuggets' benchEven though the Denver Nuggets were able to outlast the Cleveland Cavaliers at the Pepsi Center, it doesn't mean they deserve high marks for their efforts. The bench was a big part of the reason that this game stayed so close for so long. The Nuggets' bench had just 11 points on 4-of-23 shooting. Five Nuggets players off the bench attempted shots, but Andre Miller (4-of-10) was the only reserve to connect.

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