Thunder vs. Lakers: Kevin Durant Will Lock Up MVP with Big Performance Sunday

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While the Los Angeles Lakers are trying to figure out exactly what type of team they are as the playoffs approach, the same can’t be said for Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder.

While Lakers head coach Mike Brown is trying to determine the right offensive balance between Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum, Thunder head coach Scott Brooks has a little more at stake for his team as Oklahoma City stares their final three regular season games in the eyes.

The Thunder currently sit a half game behind the San Antonio Spurs for the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference, so losing isn’t an option for the Thunder down the stretch.

The MVP award is also at stake as Durant tries to stay on the heels of Miami‘s LeBron James. A big performance Sunday on the national stage should be exactly what Durant needs to possibly leapfrog LeBron for the time being.

It’s more than possible that Durant comes out and torches the Lakers. It’s going to be a given.

Durant has averaged 27 points per game against the Lakers in two Oklahoma City wins this season, which included a 33-point effort on February 23.

Not only have the Lakers struggled against the Thunder this season, but they’ve struggled against good teams in general, posting a 3-6 mark on the season against the other top four seeds in the Western Conference.

The Lakers need a win against the Thunder to try and hold off the Los Angeles Clippers for the Pacific Division lead, but while all eyes will be on Bryant and Bynum trying to see what type of team the Lakers will be heading into the postseason, Durant will quietly sneak in and do what he does best.

He will steal the show.

Durant only sits a tenth of a point behind Kobe for the NBA‘s scoring lead. Bryant is averaging 27.9 PPG, while Durant quietly sits at 27.8.

Durant is averaging 28.3 PPG in the month of April and is only a big game away from snatching away the scoring lead. Doing it on a nationally televised game will also be big as Durant gets to make one final pitch to the MVP voters as to why he’s the right man to vote for.

With LeBron really not having anything to play for, including one game against the Washington Wizards, this is the biggest stage that either guy has remaining.

When it’s all said and done, the Thunder will win a huge game on the road at the Staples Center, but it’s Durant who will make the biggest statement as he will leave Los Angeles as not only the NBA’s leading scorer, but the league MVP as well.

Read more NBA news on BleacherReport.com

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