Kevin Durant's 25-point scoring streak ended for the same reason his 30-point streak ended earlier in the season: the Thunder was simply too good.
As Thunder fans have seen now more than once, the only thing that can lock Durant down this season is the scoreboard and that was certainly the case on Tuesday night, as the Thunder laid waste to the Kings 107-92 in Sacramento.
KD reached 23 on a dunk with 22 seconds remaining in the third quarter to put the Thunder up 12 and that was that. His teammates had it all taken care of from there.
His streak of consecutive games with 25 points or more ended at 41 games, marking the third-longest run in NBA history and the longest in the past 50 years after passing Michael Jordan on Sunday.
And it really was the best way for the streak to end; it ended on Durant's own terms.
He wasn't shut down. Nobody get the better of him. He went to the bench and was all smiles and high-fives as his teammates bulldozed the Kings to set up a titanic matchup on Wednesday against the Clippers. The last time KD didn't score 25 was almost exactly the same, scoring 21 against Boston in a lopsided 119-96 win on Jan. 5 where he didn't play a minute of the final quarter.
Durant's streak ending is the story because of its significance, but Caron Butler's outing is deserving of plenty of headlines in its own right.
It's been a good 48 hours for Butler with his UConn Huskies winning the men's and women's national championships the past two nights and maybe a little of that magic rubbed off on the 11-year veteran in Sleep Train Arena on Tuesday.
Butler tied Durant for a game-high 23 points but how he did it was even more impressive. Butler finished 8-for-10 from the floor but he couldn't miss from 3-point range … literally. Butler went 6-for-6 from behind the arc, including 4-for-4 with 14 points in the second quarter alone.
It was a tremendous way for the Thunder to snap out of a two-game losing streak, taking the season series from the Kings 4-0 and being able to rest its starters in the process on the front end of a big back-to-back for playoff seeding.
Serge Ibaka scored 19 points, Reggie Jackson scored 13 and distributed five assists, and Jeremy Lamb added 10 off the bench for the Thunder. Thabo Sefolosha retook his place in the starting lineup, finished with two points and three rebounds in a limited 15 minutes coming off his injury.
While it took awhile for OKC to distance itself from the Kings on the scoreboard, it seemed like it was only a matter of time given how the Thunder was shooting it, scoring 61 points in the first half alone and shooting with 55 percent from the 3-point line on the night.
The Thunder also set a franchise record with zero turnovers in the first half and finished with just six for the game.
DeMarcus Cousins and Travis Outlaw led the way for Sacramento with 24 points each. Cousins also pulled down a game-high 14 rebounds, as the Kings fell to 27-51 on the year.
The win moved OKC to 56-21 and put it 1 ½ games up on the Clippers for the No. 2 seed in the West. The two face off in Los Angeles on Wednesday at 9:30 p.m.