Kevin Durant scores 66 at Rucker Park
NEW YORK -- Add Kevin Durant to the list of NBA greats who have played at Harlem's Rucker Park. And put him high on the list.
The Oklahoma City Thunder forward and reigning NBA scoring champion dazzled the crowd by scoring 66 points in an Entertainers Basketball Classic game Monday.
"I've always wanted to play at Rucker Park all my life," Durant told one of the league's emcees after his DC Power team beat the Sean Bell All-Stars, which featured Chicago Bulls guard John Lucas III.
"No lie, jus had one of the best times of my life at Rucker park..wow! I love NY...Harlem waddup.” -- Kevin Durant on Twitter
Rucker Park, located across the street from where the Polo Grounds used to stand, is famed for pickup games and leagues that have counted Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Julius Erving, Allen Iverson and Kobe Bryant among its visitors.
Durant fell two points short of the EBC scoring record, set by Steve Burtt Jr. in 2007. Joe (The Destroyer) Hammond is recognized as holding the park record of 74 points in a game.
After the game, Durant tweeted: "No lie, jus had one of the best times of my life at Rucker park..wow! I love NY...Harlem waddup."
As the NBA lockout has dragged on for more than a month, some players have hit the streetball circuit to stay in shape, with Durant also having appeared in the Drew League in Los Angeles.
Durant didn't hit everything in the first half, but still finished with 23 points. He scored seven straight points in the first quarter, including a fall-away 3-pointer and a slam dunk.
But Durant caught fire in the second half, scoring 15 points in the third quarter.
He opened up the fourth with a 3-pointer, followed by making one of two free throws. The NBA All-Star added a layup before lighting up the opposition with a barrage of four 3-pointers while facing double- and even triple-team defenses. The last shot made the crowd react by spilling onto the court, mobbing Durant.
DC Power point guard Randy "White Chocolate" Gill has known Durant since the scoring whiz was 15 years old. Gill said he took a step back and let Durant do his thing.
"It's an honor and pleasure playing with the greatest player in the world, Kevin Durant. He's young and hungry and it makes your job real easy playing with a guy like that," Gill said after the game.
"Most of the time, just give him the ball and get out of the way. Go spot up and then when they're doubling, triple-teaming him, you know he's even scoring on that. He's an explosive scorer, a great shooter and the greatest player in the world."
When play resumed, Durant showed he's human by missing his next 3-pointer. Moments later, though, he slammed one home for his 60th point of the game and the crowd once again erupted onto the court. "They're never going to forget that in Harlem," Gill said.
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