Durant Keeps The Faith As Game 5 Nears

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OKLAHOMA CITY – Asked about the mood of the Thunder these last 36 hours or so after the Game 4 overtime loss that put them in a 3-1 hole, Kevin Durant said everyone should know one thing.

“It wasn’t like we were going to a funeral,” Oklahoma City’s superstar said.

Durant is averaging 31.8 ppg, 9.1 rpg and 6.3 apg this postseason, yet he has struggled to score late in the last three games, all Memphis Grizzlies victories, all by six points. He was 2-for-13 in the fourth quarter and OT in Game 4.

“Everybody came through except for me and that’s the toughest thing about it, that’s a tough feeling,” Durant said. “Tonight we’ll try to get that taste out of mouths and try to get a W.”

Durant looked like a heavyweight fighter who had just gone the distance only to lose on a split decision. He was fatigued and seemingly out of answers. The Thunder returned to OKC in the early-morning hours Tuesday. Coach Scott Brooks didn’t put his team through a practice after they finally got some sleep, content to allow his players to get treatment and focus on tonight’s do-or-die Game 5 (9:30 p.m. ET, TNT).

“We’re a team that’s always been resilient, always perseveres through things and always just fights it to the end,” Durant said. “We’re going to continue to keep fighting. We’ve got a great opportunity on our home floor and, you know, you either win or you go home.”

Durant said the team is drawing on other adverse times such as losing the first two games to the San Antonio Spurs in last year’s West finals, only to storm back to win four in a row. But, obviously, that team had All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook at the helm. That Westbrook’s new Brand Jordan/Champs Sports commercial was revealed Wednesday — one full of pre-knee-injury dunks — surely makes Thunder fans wistful.

Westbrook’s absence has allowed the Grizzlies to focus on Durant. They’ve given him doses of Tayshaun Prince and then Quincy Pondexter with sporadic looks at Tony Allen for the first three quarters. The fourth quarter has largely been all Allen with teammates swarming Durant from every angle.

Since his Game 1 heroics that had Durant being praised as the game’s most clutch player, his shots have mostly clanged in the final two minutes of these games, each one a two-point margin with two minutes to go.

“I just got to get it done either way,” Durant said. “I got to try to force my way into the lane and maybe that draws even more guys and I kick it out to my teammates, or sometimes I got to shoot over two or three guys. So there’s no excuses no matter how many people are guarding me. I’ve just got to get it done.”

Durant, better than a 90-percent free throw shooter during the season, will try to get there more in Game 5. Brooks was a bit miffed that Durant got to the free throw line just three times in 48 minutes of Game 4, and one of those came via a defensive 3-seconds call.

Don’t expect Durant to alter the way he plays. He’ll continue to try to create for himself and his teammates even though they’ve been cold. Among Serge IbakaKevin Martin, Thabo Sefolosha, Kendrick Perkins and Nick Collison, Collison has the highest shooting percentage of that group in the series — 41.7 percent.

“I don’t have to say anything really, just pass them the ball and they know I got confidence in them,” Durant said. “I tell them all the time to shoot with confidence, don’t worry about it if they miss a shot, so what? Just keep getting back on defense and playing the great defense that we are. Don’t worry about the shots, just continue to keep shooting them if you have them.

“I’m going to trust in my teammates no matter what, no matter what people say or how many shots they miss or how many shots I miss, I’m going to continue to trust my teammates, myself and all the hard work we’ve put in.”

10 Comments

  1. Courtney says:

    Great player bad game…gl next year okc

  2. GSG says:

    5-23 or 24, you call that a great player?

  3. thunderup says:

    Kevin durant, a great player and a great teamate he helped thunder getting this far and I doubt he would surrender now. Players like reggie jackson, sefelosha, ibaka, martin needs to help durant instead of watching his play

  4. W/E says:

    I think this is their last game of the season, Durant can practice his skills at fishing after this.

  5. holyspectator says:

    they done man, spurs cs grizz WCF…lets get it on

  6. M.Tizzle says:

    OKC… We must rebound better!!! Every game we’ve lost, Memphis has out rebounded the (us) Thunder at least +10 in each game!! To rebound in the series, OKC must rebound (limit one or no attempts) and get stops!!! PACK IT IN, WE AIN’T PACKIN’ UP!!! Lets GO THUNDER, K.D. do em’ like you did my Sooners!!

  7. JJP says:

    If their is a game 6, that is it because Grizzlies are going to the West Finals!

    • OKCKD35 says:

      if the refs call the game even maybe OKC can win one. They are letting Memphis play as physical as they want but not letting OKC bang back. Just seeing that KD took 3 FT’s the entire game 4 even though he was attacking and being hacked all game was terrible. Especially the Z-Bo (strip as they call it) foul at the end of the game. The Grizzlies will not make it past San Antonio if they can barely beat a wounded OKC team!

      • kumag says:

        Why is it when your team looses blame it on the refs. That is just dumb. “The Refs” is what always loosers say.

  8. MookandMindy says:

    Thunder’s bigs need to contain Randolph and Gasol in order to comeback. Just see what NY Knicks is dealing with.