Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Updated: April 18, 8:37 AM ET
Carmelo Anthony wins scoring title
ESPN.com news services
Kevin Durant did not play in Wednesday's regular-season finale, meaning Carmelo Anthony secured his first career NBA scoring title.
Durant, who averaged 28.1 points per game this season, posted a note on his Instagram account announcing he will sit against the Milwaukee Bucks.
The note, which was posted Wednesday morning, said: "SITTING OUT TONIGHT'S GAME, if you disappointed I didn't try to go for the scoring title, oh well!!"
Durant entered Wednesday trailing only Anthony, who is averaging 28.7 points, for the league scoring lead. However, Durant played in 14 more games this season than the New York Knicks forward, who will sit Wednesday against the Atlanta Hawks.
Even if Anthony appeared in Wednesday's game but did not score a single point, he would be averaging 28.2 points per game, barely edging a sidelined Durant.
Durant would have needed to score a whopping 70 points to pass a sidelined Anthony and capture his fourth consecutive scoring title.
Oklahoma City Thunder coach Scott Brooks had already hinted that Durant would not play against the Bucks.
"He has no shot," Brooks said, according to the Oklahoman. "I guarantee you he won't get it."
The Thunder (60-21) already have clinched the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference playoffs.
Brooks praised Durant for his unselfish play this season, claiming that the All-Star forward recently had focused more on distributing the ball.
"I give Kevin a lot of credit," Brooks said, according to the Oklahoman, "because maybe 10 games ago, if he was really focused on trying to get it four years in a row, he could have got it easily.
"Many times ... he was trying to get a triple-double. And when you try to get 10 assists, that means you're not trying to score."
Anthony eclipsed Durant for the scoring title thanks to a late-season surge, which has coincided with the Knicks' run to the Atlantic Division title and the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference.
"I think it's great," Knicks coach Mike Woodson said of Anthony winning the scoring title. "Again, it's a nice individual award, but I know Melo's thinking bigger than the scoring title. His whole thought process has been this year is trying to get to the Finals."
Anthony has averaged 36.9 points in eight games since April 1, while Durant has averaged just 26.1 points over that stretch, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
Durant's attempt for 70 points could have been fun on paper, but would not have been unprecedented in the NBA.
The Spurs' David Robinson scored 71 on the last day of the 1993-94 season to edge Shaquille O'Neal for the scoring crown. David Thompson of the Nuggets scored 73 in the last game of the 1978-79 season to take the scoring lead, only to see San Antonio's George Gervin drop 63 later that night to capture the title.
ESPNNewYork.com's Ian Begley contributed to this report.