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Good morning, Kevin Durant is setting the world ablaze

In Wednesday's NBA newsletter we talk about Kevin Durant's scoring binge, Rudy Gay's scoring binge, Greg Oden, All-Stars and Nick Young's cousin. Enjoy!

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Good morning. Let's basketball.

KD WATCH: Kevin Durant scored 46 on Tuesday, leading the Thunder past the Blazers. Here are the point totals for KD's last eight games: 48, 30, 33, 37, 36, 54, 30, 46. That is a whole lot of points! He's doing it efficiently, too, because he's Kevin Durant.

And with every massive performance, he inches closer to winning his first MVP award ... an award for which he may already be the favorite. WTLC's recap includes a spectacular GIF of Russell Westbrook celebrating a Kendrick Perkins 20-footer. (Yes, there is also evidence of that 20-footer. There's hope for finding Squatch yet.)

MORE LAST NIGHT: Rudy Gay scored 41 points. How many shots did he need? Take your first guess, divide by two, divide by two again and you'll be pretty close. (25. It was 25 shots.) Greg Oden's block on Jeff Green symbolized the Heat's whomping of the Celtics. (Speaking of Oden, check out David Roth's excellent piece on him.) Deron Williams looked great coming off the bench as the Nets stayed hot.

THE FORMULA FOR PURE ADORABLE: Ricky Rubio + a little girl + a mascot bear + a basketball. Unstoppable.

AIR FLOTUS: Michelle Obama and LeBron conspire to Boom Shakalaka all over Ray Allen. GIF of the Year favorite.

EMBIIG: Joel Embiid is now on top of Jonathan Tjarks' Big Board. Where Andrew Wiggins lands is interesting.

COCKADOODLE-BOOOO: Danilo Gallinari had a second ACL surgery on Tuesday, which means we won't be seeing Gallo this season. A huge bummer for a Denver team on the playoff fringe.

THE RIVALRY: Grantland's Charles P. Pierce with a rather sweet examination of the current state of the Lakers-Celtics rivalry.

OF COURSE HE IS: Nick Young is Kendrick Lamar's cousin. OF COURSE HE IS. (H/T: Taco Trey.)

THE CURB: A brief history of Mike Woodson insisting that he will not throw various players to the curb. They are a big part of his ballclub.

ALL-STARS: The starters get announced Thursday, which means the flood of opinions on who ought to be a reserve begins Thursday night and continues until like two weeks after the All-Star Game. Zach Lowe has, per usual, beaten everyone to the punch with his picks. DeMarcus Cousins figures prominently(!).

DESPERATION: In Tuesday's Hook I looked at the seven desperate NBA teams you meet in a dark alley at All-Star Weekend.

PLUG: I hope you'll check out a rad project from Alex Wong, who created a book meshing some great basketball writing with great illustration. There's something wonderful about basketball that promotes creativity and free expression; this is an example of that.

Happy Wednesday. See you next time.

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