Kevin Durant needs Thunderous performance to tie series
The Oklahoma City Thunder have been the projected frontrunners for the Western Conference title since the start of the season. They have not disappointed, finishing as the best in the West. They were expected to breeze through their first and second round rivals, but that all changed when Russell Westbrook was lost for the season. The resiliency of the entire Thunder team will be tested, and Kevin Durant’s offensive prowess will be pushed to its limits, and maybe beyond.
Kevin Durant has done more of everything for the Oklahoma City Thunder since Russell Westbrook was lost for the rest of the season with a knee injury after Game 2 of the Thunder’s first round series against the Houston Rockets.
He’s shot more, played more, scored more and facilitated more.
But with the Thunder backed up against another wall, trailing the Grizzlies 2-1 heading into Monday night’s Game 4 in Memphis, Durant vowed there was still more to come.
“I can do a lot more. There’s always things. No matter how good you play, you always can do more,” said Durant, who has averaged 34 points, 10.6 rebounds, 6.1 assists and shot 50.6 percent from the field in the seven games Oklahoma City has played without Westbrook.
”I gotta find ways to help [my teammates] out and put them in great position. Continue to just be a vocal leader, a positive leader on the bench and every time down the court.”
In other words, help them help themselves.
The Thunder shot a wretched 36 percent in Saturday’s 87-81 loss to the Grizzlies. Sunday morning they practiced for about an hour, most of which was spent shooting.
”It was mostly a shooting practice,” Thunder shooting guard Kevin Martin said. “We did everything well in the game yesterday except hit shots.
”That’s the easiest part of the game. we get that under control we’ll be fine.”
Martin and forward Serge Ibaka each struggled mightily in Game 3, connecting on just six of their 17 shots from the field.
Durant seemed to fall off too, making six of his first eight shots, but just three of his next 11 attempts to finish 9-for-19 from the field. He also missed two critical free throws with 15.5 seconds remaining that would’ve cut the Grizzlies lead down to a single possession.