OKLAHOMA CITY – Kevin Durant, who has plenty of scoring titles, finally has a Most Valuable Player trophy to go with them.
The Oklahoma City Thunder forward won the league’s top individual honor Tuesday, receiving 119 first-place votes from a 125-person media panel. Miami’s LeBron James, who had won the last two MVP awards and four of the previous five, finished second with six first-place votes.
“Everything in my life, I had to take it,” the 25-year-old Durant said at a ceremony in Edmond, Okla. “They’re not going to give it to you out of sympathy. I wouldn’t want it any other way. This was another case, if I wanted to win the MVP, I had to go take it. I felt that this was the year I did that.”
Former Sonic Durant won his fourth scoring title in five years by averaging 32 points. He helped the Thunder go 59-23, the second-best record in the league, despite playing much of the season without three-time All-Star Russell Westbrook by his side. Westbrook, a guard, had a nagging knee injury.
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“He’s basically put himself in front of everybody else in the league and shown that he’s the best player in the world,” Westbrook said at the end of the regular season.
James agreed, saying Monday: “Much respect to him and he deserves it. He had a big-time MVP season.”
Warriors fire Jackson
OAKLAND, Calif. – Mark Jackson came to the Golden State Warriors promising playoff appearances and delivered twice.
Away from the court, though, Jackson seldom backed down from doing things how he wanted. His inability to mesh with management — and management’s inability to mesh with Jackson — increasingly overshadowed his success and cost him his job.
The Warriors fired Jackson, 49, after three seasons; he had a 98-66 record the last two seasons.
“Obviously it was not made exclusively on wins and losses,” Warriors owner Joe Lacob said of the decision.
• Philadelphia 76ers guard Michael Carter-Williams, the league’s Rookie of the Year, had surgery Tuesday in New York to repair the labrum of his right shoulder. No timetable for his recovery was disclosed.
• Andy Roeser, Los Angeles Clippers team president, is taking an indefinite leave of absence while the league restructures the franchise in the wake of owner Donald Sterling’s lifetime ban for making racist comments.