Durant And Thunder Bow Out Of Playoffs Quietly, But Both Will Roar Again

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Series hub | Game 5: Notebook | Box score

OKLAHOMA CITY – This wasn’t supposed to go down like this. Not this game. Not this series. Not this postseason. Kevin Durant’s historic offensive regular season came to a cringing, clanging conclusion Wednesday night, smothered for a fourth consecutive game by a focused Memphis Grizzlies defense.

Only the sixth player in NBA history to finish a season shooting 50 percent from the floor, 40 from 3-point range and 90 from the free-throw line, Durant went down like this: 5-for-21, 0-for-4 and 11-for-15. Even his auto-dial free throws betrayed him in this series, 13 alone failing to go down in the final three games, likely flattened by fatigue as he played all 48 minutes in Wednesday’s Game 5 and 229 of 245 in all, and swarmed by defenders to the bitter end.

His first six shots failed to drop in the top-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder’s 88-84 defeat, just like his last one with 4.9 seconds left. It was a good look from 16 feet away, the kind he makes in his sleep, but this one caught a chunk of rim and had no prayer of rolling through like the mesmerizing, high-bouncing 3 that beat the Rockets in Game 3, the first game OKC played without Russell Westbrook.

And so there will be no Finals return. No revenge matchup against the Miami Heat. And for Durant, at least, there is no remorse, no regret.

“I gave all I have for my team. I left it all out there on the floor,” Durant said. “I missed 16 shots, but I kept fighting, kept being aggressive, and that’s all I could ask for. It is what it is. It’s tough to swallow right now, but I’m sure we’re going to look back on this down the line and really appreciate this tough time. It’s something we’ve got to embrace and get better from. It’s tough to lose your last game in the playoffs so you’ve just got to move on.”

On the other side, Grizzlies big man Zach Randolph came up large in the biggest game of his career. He went to work in the low post early and finished with 28 points and 14 rebounds. He missed two free throws with 11.3 seconds to go to leave the door cracked for the Thunder’s late surge that closed an 80-70 deficit to 86-84 and a fifth consecutive game that came down to the wire.

But Durant and the Thunder again couldn’t close. He went 1-for-5 from the floor in the fourth quarter for two points. He committed three of his seven turnovers, a total that surpassed both his field goals (five) and assists (six). The Grizzlies move on to the franchise’s first Western Conference finals against either San Antonio or Golden State.

Dejected, Durant stopped on the floor before heading into the tunnel. The sellout crowd at Chesapeake Arena, most still having stuck around, applauded their superstar and chanted “O-K-C,” seeming to express the same sentiment as Durant’s coach, Scott Brooks, did after the game.

“I love Kevin,” Brooks said. “He’s put this team in a position a lot of people respect with how he conducts himself, how he approaches the game every day in practice. You’re not going to make every shot. You’re going to have a couple of [bad] games and sometimes you’re going to have them in a row. But that’s one thing about KD, he’s not an excuse guy and that’s what our organization is about.”

Durant’s fourth-quarter misfires in Games 2 through 5 were indeed jaw-dropping from a player who had routinely become so clutch he seemed automatic. But starting with the final three minutes of Game 2, when NBA All-Defensive First Team member Tony Allen took on guarding the three-time scoring champ, Durant went an inexplicable 4-for-25 in the fourth quarters, plus the Game 4 overtime.

“Every one of these games came down to the last few minutes,” Durant said. “It’s unfortunate we didn’t come out on the winning side except for once. Like I said, down the line we are going to look back on this and really appreciate it. Sometimes you’ve got to ride out some storms to get to sunshine.”

As this series unfolded, with Durant missing shots and the Thunder falling further behind, the predictable criticism of Durant began. Comparisons to LeBron James’ fold job in the 2010 East final with Cleveland and his mysterious disappearance during the fourth quarters of The 2011 Finals against the Dallas Mavericks were prematurely and wrongly being lowered onto Durant’s shoulders.

The truth is there is no comparison to be made. The Thunder were dealt a crippling blow when Westbrook tore cartilage in his right knee and required surgery that would knock him out for duration. On the fly, OKC had to adjust two games into the first round. Durant never shied from the pressure, he simply didn’t make his shots.

He got OKC by Houston in six games, but the Grizzlies, a top-three defensive team boasting three All-Defensive Teamers and the Defensive Player of the Year, Marc Gasol, made life too difficult. Consider that second-year man Reggie Jackson, the third-string point guard when the season started, was the Thunder’s second-best player in the series behind Durant.

A team that averaged 105.7 points in the regular season managed just 89.6 against the Grizzlies, a deficiency that reveals Westbrooks’s immense impact and the burden placed on Durant. Serge Ibaka, Kevin Martin and Derek Fisher provided little spark offensively. Thabo Sefolosha, Kendrick Perkins and Nick Collison added even less.

“He played 48 minutes and I thought he really wanted to carry his team back home,” Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins said of Durant. “He was trying to get a win tonight and he came out really trying. Throughout the course of the series we just tried to put pressure on him and keep fresh bodies on him. They had to play him and he had to be the go-to-guy and we knew that, and we just tried to make him work for everything.”

And work he did until with just a few minutes left, he bent over, tugged at his short bottoms and stared at the floor. One could only gather he was already plotting his return next season, when he and Westbrook will return with greater motivation and again as one of the West’s top contenders.

“I have peace because this is when we really had to come together,” Durant said. “You really seen us grow as a group. The only way I’d be frustrated is if we came in here with attitude because Russ is out or we missed shots or we lost the game, and nobody did that. We kept our spirits up. We were always positive and that was the best part about it. No matter how you lose, you couldn’t ask for nothing else man.

“These guys, I love playing with them. Some days you come in and you get upset with each other, that’s just life. But at the end of the day I love all those guys, we all love each other and it was a joy fighting with each other, this playoff run, this whole season. So it wasn’t frustrating. Of course it was a little tougher than usual, but we made the best out of it.”

148 Comments

  1. Marc Gasol Ninja says:

    Hi, my Memphis Grizzlies won the series against the Thunder, 4-1 because I, Marc Gasol, am a SHOE NINJA! I can defend the ball very well and I can strip the ball from others using my shoe.

  2. Frado says:

    Kd is a scoring machine, such a great player I can’t believe they got knocked out like this, look at the Chicago playing with out any stars and competed hard against Brooklyn and Miami. They baisicly had the bench starting against two good offensive teams and one great team like Miami. It’s disappointing to see okc loose like they did, I thought kd had a little more super star in him I guess he’s not ready to carry his team alone like Kobe and mj and bird and magic.

    • Kyle says:

      Are you kidding me? All of the players that you named have teammates in the Hall of Fame. I seem to remember Kobe needing Shaq to win his first few, then struggling to get another championship until he teamed up with Gasol, most likely a future Hall of Famer. Bird had Parrish and McHale, Jordan had Pippen and Rodman, and Magic had Worthy and Kareem, among others. I wouldn’t say that any of the players that you mentioned did it “alone.” KD performed admirably considering that he had to play point forward a majority of the time and his supporting cast performed terribly. It’s ridiculous that so many people are discrediting Durant as a superstar for what happened in this series. I seriously doubt any player in this league could’ve lead OKC past Memphis, LBJ included.

  3. Great season Thunder & Durant. Tough series to go w/o RW. I like Brooks, he’s a great coach but i think it was a big mistake playing KD too many minutes since RW went down-no matter how young you are, it’s going to wear on you-could have gave other 2nd & 3rd string guys chance to step up. Then again even w/ RW this series could have gone either way-Griz took them to 7 before. None the less-great season Thunder-just got bite by the all star injury bug like my Celts.

  4. john says:

    What okc need is a big man that can take the preasure of kd . The grizzles know to double team durant because they didnt have nobody to excute

    My player in mind for that help : al jefferson

  5. Joshua Greenfarb says:

    Ibaka is only 23 years old. He is going to keep improving. I don’t know if he can be a major low-post scorer like Zach Randolph or Lamarcus Aldridge or those type of guys; however, Ibaka finished the series against Memphis very very well. His shooting was off at the beginning of the series, but he got back to being Serge Ibaka. He is a future All-Star. I believe he will improve and become a double-double guy. Plus, he’s the best shot blocker in the league and defended Randolph pretty well.

    Perkins, however, I admit had an atrocious postseason. He had a decent regular season but then fell apart in the playoffs.

    I’ve given this some thought and I hope the Thunder freed up cap space with moves they’ve made over the past year or so. The Thunder seriously needs to consider bringing Perkins and Sefolosha off the bench for defense responsibilities. They need to keep Kevin Martin. He can be 6th man of the year next season. They need to get Jeremy Lamb into the everyday rotation. They could’ve used his shooting in a series in which they struggled mightily in FG% against the mighty Grizzlies. Looking back, they shouldn’t have played Fisher so damn much in game 5. Fisher missed too many open looks. That was playing time that should’ve went to prospect Jeremy Lamb. I trust how Thunder manages their players, but don’t play Fisher that much.

    I believe they need to see if they can sign a free agent during the offseason. In a dreamworld, they would sign Josh Smith and Chris Paul (if possible). Paul and Smith have greater chances of winning it all with the Thunder. I envisioned a dreamworld that would have the Thunder starting 5: C Ibaka, PF Josh Smith, SF Durant, SG Westbrook, PG Paul. They would be dominant with a starting lineup like that. And then Martin being 6th man of the year off the bench. Yes, Memphis defeated OKC with their interior forces, but I wouldn’t read into that that much. I still favor (in this day and age) speed and athleticism first. If Westbrook was healthy, the Thunder would have won this series. With a starting 5 like that, the Thunder would have even more speed and athleticism to run opposing teams out of the building. They could use the extra speed/athleticism to fastbreak, get random rebounds, and penentrate relentlessly in the paint. Plus, their team defense would be #1 by far.

    Or just try to sign Al Jefferson. No more starting Kendrick Perkins. He needs to be a backup role-player.

  6. MEM50 says:

    If Memphis beat OKC in the regular season series with Westbrook healthy, then how can one guarantee that they would have won the playoff series? The last regular season game was down to the wire and won with a Gasol tip in with Westbrook on the floor. Having Westbrook on the floor makes OKC a better team, but that doesn’t necessary mean they would have won. Maybe they win, maybe not.

    Example..playoffs 2011…Memphis was a better team with Rudy Gay on the floor…14-5 right before the injury and 15-10 after the injury limping into the playoffs. Will OKC fans say that since the series went 7 games without Gay (just like Westbrook, Gay was our 2nd best player in 2011) that Memphis would have won that series with Gay? No, OKC fans will not admit that and neither will I. You can’t have it both ways.

    For fans complaining about the refs, OKC played physical and got away with calls just like the Grizz did. For plays where you thought an OKC player was fouled, Grizz fans can point out plays where the Grizz was fouled and no call was made. The Grizz did a better job playing through the refs.

  7. vela bahleke says:

    i said it last yr straight after okc cheated the spurs in the wcf.stern made sure for a okc vs heat final to please the fans instead of letting the teams duke it out fairly.creating rules in the playoffs to make sure a team wins isnt the way to build a team but destroy it.stern created the no goaltending rule just so ibaka could raise his stats and eliminate the spurs last year.i said it and i will keep saying it.those okc players will go with no titles till they retire.they also took in derek ,fishing for a title ,fisher trying to boost themselves…lol…that just added to the whole bad streak.sellouts always land with their kind.fisher did the mavs in and look where he landed,lol.in a fishing boat in the middle of nowhere.tried to say he would get number 6 and be better than kobe and be like mike but nope, number 6 aint ever commin your way fisher.okc will never see the wcf till the nba has been appeased of the stuff they did last year.and its going to be 5 seasons .this was the first now 4 more to go.durant is no star as well.he is just a marketing gimmick the nba is using.3 time scoring champ coz that easy when you are the first scring option in your team.ever seen a scoring champ who is 6th option in a team.i dont think so.so if things are obvious as how to be a scoring champ then stop praising these chumps for stuff they should be doing anyways.rewarding ballhogs with titles for hogging the ball is no way of improving the game.westbrook wasnt going to change a thing in this series but delay the losing process.now lets hear people say durant choked.why not ,coz he didnt leave seatle on his own to go to okc but the team relocated.same team so its all cool.nope its not.he didnt carry the team thats what.a team supposedly stronger than any cavs team bronbron carried and no saying east is weaker coz even among the weak there is the strong and bronbron proved to be that on his own and nota whole team.a whole celtics team could not stop him.it took a strong spurs team to stop him.okc is full of wusses that depended on harden and westbrook and durant.now they have been exposed for the overpayed wusses they are.ibaka,perkins,sefolosha,martin,fisher and collison should just resign and admit they are fans with the best vantage point seats,on the okc bench and sometimes run on the court for closeups.good luck to the rest of the teams in the playoffs that are actually playing their hearts and guts out…wish my spurs could get it done though.leaning towards a grizz vs pacers finals this year…grizz to take it all in that case but if my spurs make the finals im taking them for every cent i have to win number 5.GO SPURS GO!!!!

    • Joshua Greenfarb says:

      WOW, you sound like a mad Laker fan. Thank god the Lakers will never make the playoffs ever again so we don’t have to hear from whiny brats like you.

      And BTW, if Westbrook was healthy, Thunder would have won this series.

      But I give credit to Memphis for taking advantage of the situation when you can. Cause in 2014, Thunder will return to the Finals!!!

  8. fmmoreno says:

    Tony Allen deserved to be respected (defensive 1st team), he was their when the Celtics took their last championship…

  9. Tammy Terrell says:

    Why did OKC get rid of Hardin. That guy’s a winner and he’s gone. He left a huge hole for OKC. Shefalosha, Fisher, and the lot were not even adequate. Kevin needed help and didn’t get any.

  10. James Harden says:

    When Ibaka started to shoot 3 points, I knew OKC will loose.
    Get your low post game and stop blaming KD, Russ and James……..

  11. Oh Yeah says:

    Haters gonna hate. But hey, the Laker Fans are suffering with an aging superstar and a could-be-superstar-if-i-could-just-get-have-all-the-attention-on-me. So the Thunder are right where they need to be, one of the top 4 teams in the West. The West which is obviously the better half of the league. Jeez, to see Miami beat the Bucks and the beat-up Bulls makes for an easy ride to the conference finals. Oh jer well.

    KD, Westbrook, and Ibaka will dominate again and the haters will just be fools lost in a hellish cave of bad karma.

  12. Brennan says:

    why didn’t durant take the wide open lane. would have been so much easier

  13. gritsngravy21 says:

    Im not going to speculate if westbrook wasnt injured what the outcome would have been. Even with everyone healthy and talented as they are, i think they have some issues to adress. Mainly having no offensive presence in the paint. Last thing i will say is the team who is the hungriest always wins in the playoffs. Derrick rose never took the floor bulls made no excuses. David lee went down for golden state they made no excuses. Bogut stepped up. Not trying to get off subject just giving some examples. These players get paid millions theres no excuse someone should of filled the void left by westbrook.

  14. Thank you Kevin and Thunder for a thrilling season!! Wish Russel a speedy recovery and can’t wait for next season to begin. It wasn’t meant to be this time. A fan for life!!!

  15. okc is going. going. gone! says:

    Looks like fisher will have to mooch off someone else in his search for another ring. C’mon fish you can win by yourself right? Wrong!

  16. Barry Lird says:

    Plenty of big men free agents. GET A LOW POST GAME! Ibaka is a jump shooter. Great defender but a jumpshooter!

  17. Charles says:

    I have never been much for the blame game. My background of almost 20 years in the army that you look at what you went right and what went wrong in a balanced approach. What went right can give you more things to fix sometimes than what when wrong. I truly love this team and their attitude, but they looked tired and tentative in ways I’ve never seen them even when they have been blown out. I’m not the coach nor would I pretend to know better. I do think the parts (aka players) were there but they needed to aligned differently. My only really gripe about this article is that Collison is dinged at all for not contributing when he doesn’t even start. I would probably change that portion especially considering the troubles Perkins had in this series offensively and defensively. But I don’t blame anyone. They are a great team! I didn’t see the intensity that I expected last night. I’m 99.9% Okie and when somebody hits me…I hit back harder. I imagine it’s tough playing in the NBA. Use the 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team’s (Oklahoma Army National Guard) experience in Afghanistan last year when they suffered 13 deaths. “Always Forward” should be the Thunder Motto from now on…

  18. Hadj says:

    OKC needs a decent big guy…even if they can’t afford Dwight Howard, I can see a legit big man like Al Jefferson or Omar Asik…even Bogut isn’t bad. Just a big guy who can give them 12 to 16 points down low in the paint while playing defense on the other side so Lebron James or Dwayne Wade don’t feast on them offensively.

    Also -> Very important…KD needs to stop shooting so many jumpers…I love him but he shoots way too many jumpers, he has to diversify his game and take it to the hoop: every scorer knows that, except him…he’s capable of blowing by most of his defenders but he does it just to stop and pull up…that is really dumb. He can dunk on anyone so why not be aggressive.

    Another side of OKC weaknesses: they unravel under pressure…the NBA finals are not for the faint of heart, they better be mentally ready for the playoffs and MAN UP against the grizzlies, spurs and other solid teams in the league. No one will hand you a title, you gotta go out there and get it….these jump-shooting teams are not the real deal…

    Kevin Durant has to do some real soul searching on better understanding the game: it is mostly mental. You have to make that discovery first in order to get the heart of a champion. Ask Jordan.

    Hopefully OKC learns from this painful experience and acquire a legitimate big man (PLEASE GET RID OF PERKINS) and Westbrook/Durant attacking the rim more….WHILE SHARING THE BALL BETTER (they’ve shown that against the grizzlies but didn’t keep it up consistently).

    KD should perhaps build up a little bit of muscle so he can play through all these fouls…refs will not bail you out all the time. You gotta man up brother.

    Good luck next year.

  19. WashHighP says:

    Kevin is a big CRY BABY

  20. Bryan says:

    SPURS OVER GRIZZLIES IN 5. I SAID IT……… TRY AND PROVE ME WRONG!

  21. Allen Iverson says:

    Even if Russ was in the series, I think it could have gone to 7 games and still, Memphis would succeed. #justsaying

  22. fffdogijosdfig says:

    i like chicken

  23. kevin wilson says:

    KD play his heart out but one thing i got to say that his team need to step up doe just because russell westbrook got injury and stufff dont mean KD can do it all by himself ibaka need to start acting like a power forward not trying to shoot all them damn 2 he need to use his body in paint to draw foul or grab rebound just not sitting in the back shooting 2

  24. S. Benjamin says:

    Kevin Durant is a great player, but he’s still growing as a player. He is not selfish, but just a little inexperienced and this setback will just make him stronger.

    The Thunder were dealt a tough blow with the loss of Westbrook, but they should come back hungrier next year.

    But overall, well done to Memphis.

    • JJP says:

      They need a third very good player and a bench to rotate 7 or 8 players that are consistent. Not at all rebuild, just key additions for next year!.

  25. Big T says:

    One thing is for sure, we own the home court advantage ! Not that it means anything in these rowdy playoffs. But I tell you one thing San Antonio is a rowdy city with a team they dearly love and care for. You can feel the intencity all up and down your spine. Yes we own the muddy riverwalk as Mark Cuban said and yes its not a marketable place foer the NBA championship to go thru. But I tell you THREE words ( GO SPURS GO ) NUFF said !!!!!

  26. Player X says:

    WTF, it wasn’t Kevin Durant & Russell Westbrook vs. the Grizzlies BUT it’s THUNDER vs. Grizzlies.
    .
    PLEASE, stop making excuses of “If James Harden was still with OKC” or “If Russell Westbrook wasn’t injured” ’cause somebody or everybody in the team should step up but unfortunately it didn’t happen.

    Congratulations to Memphis ’cause they’re the better team PERIOD.

  27. ghghgh says:

    okc sign josh smith then best team in the west scare miami and chicago

  28. Evan Buntoro says:

    I’m tired of comments KD is not a superstar yet. He IS but he NEEDS ANOTHER ONE to capture the elusive ring and that’s Westbrook. Funny that when Westbrook plays, everybody criticises Westbrook for not deferring to KD and when Westbrook is absent, KD is harshly blamed.

    LeBron carried a weak team (Cavs) to Finals in a relatively easy conference. There’s no shame for OKC to lose to Memphis because the West is so brutal this year (and it has been in the last few years). Leave KD alone, he did everything on the floor but playing against such a good defensive team like Memphis wore him out badly (a fact that KD kept denying although it’s obvious)

  29. OKCKD35 says:

    I could see if thunder fans were saying “with harden we would have won” but they aren’t, its all the trolls mentioning Harden. I think even if Westbrook got injured 2 weeks before he did OKC would have had a chance. but to get injured in the playoffs, with no real time between games and having to come up with an entire different game plan I think OKC did well.

  30. NBAGrlFan says:

    It’s sad that OKC did not advance, but I believe this will strengthen Kevin Durant. He has many months to examine what he could’ve done better with/without Westbrook on the floor. I will admit, his performance was horrible last night but they all have bad games. He can’t do everything. Case in point when LeBron was in Cleveland, and more recently, the Knicks and Carmelo Anthony.

    Though I am KD fan, I’m glad OKC is not going to the finals. It was hurtful to watch them lose to the Heat with Westbrook and Harden. I believe that the Grizzlies have a good shot against Miami because of their size and their ability to play in the post. Something that Miami lacks..

    • SAMSEN says:

      It is hard to be effective when the opposing team can easily predict your game plan. And it becomes psychological for Durant’s team-mates when everyone in the media and on the other team is looking too Durant for all the points Im sure that they feel like that’s the only option instead of taking the game into their own hands. It is especially obvious that Durant was going to be taking all the 4th quarter shots and that is why he was struggling so bad come the 4th quarter; even with him being double teamed, his coach still believed Durant was the best option on clutch moments. It’s sad that hardly anyone is giving credit to Memphis, They may struggle offensively at times but they have effective bench scorers and have a great defense. Their going to make any good offensive team struggle. But I bet once they play a smarter & healthier team they will lose.

  31. fantasymeetsreality says:

    Have nothing but LOVE for KD and the Thunder. Under the circumstances they were valiant and contended admirably. Memphis’ wins were marginal, meaning not by much, and that speaks to OKC’s capability in spite of not having RW’s efforts. Hold your head high!

  32. sanjay says:

    west brook injury finished okc! Harden would have helped but could not have made that much difference.
    sam perkins is a big man but he cant really post up( hardly any big men who can post up these days)
    West brooks blistering speed is un-paralleled and it would have tired memphis! That idiot beverely cost them the series!
    And durant does not have stamina in the fourth quarter( he bricks plenty of throws even from 12 foot). He needs to put some muscle both in the upper body and in the legs to get more power!

    I feel sorry for okc they were destined to go to final this year( they would have hard time stopping miami or whoever is in finals though)
    looks like it is spurs to the finals ( they match very well with memphis)

    • 34yr fan says:

      ….Sam Perkins..?????

    • Bespoken says:

      Yea, sam perkins can`t really post he just shoot those pan cake flat 3s all day.

      • 34yr fan says:

        …uh…Kendrick.Perkins…………..Sam hasn’t payed for years…..just sayin’….know what you mean though….He should have a better post game this many years into his career…………OKC just needs a better big than him

  33. holyspectator says:

    chuck said it the best….without a solid big man to score all OKC is, is a jumpshooting team,, and jumpshots dont win you rings..so even if they did have westbrook and beat the grizz and then faced the spurs they woulda got embarssed by miami again..OKC has a long way to go, but hey good thing is they are a young team..ibaka HAS to develop a serious post game to pay that dude a max deal

  34. SYDALE says:

    All these people coming on here and saying that Durant isn’t a superstar must be losing their minds… or they don’t know basketball at all… A 3-time scoring champ is DEFINITELY a superstar…

  35. Andrew says:

    Well this is a proof that their best player is no Durant. It always been the PLAYMAKER Westbrook and think carefully before anyone comment on mine.

    • thunderup says:

      He needs Westbrook makes him better he is still top five but after this i dont see how you dont have Westbrook top five too.

  36. W/E says:

    OK, lets face the truth, OKC GOT OWNT BIG TIME, they were healthy except Westbrook BUT they still have the 2nd best young player in the league and thats KD, NO EXCUSE FOR THAT 4-1 MEPHIS OWNAGE, the Bulls, a battered team with a weaker roster, 2 starters and their “star player” not playing put up a better effort than OKC, 1 star is not enough for this team, NOT EVEN 2 to get the ring believe me, they got so exposed when Westbrook( A BALLHOG “PG”) got injured, a team full of bench players and 2 stars thats what OKC is.

    • Joshua Greenfarb says:

      They also have Ibaka who is only 23 years-old. He will keep improving. Best shot blocker in the game.

      Kevin Martin — one of the best 6th-man-off-the-bench players.

      KD and Westbrook will be back and better than ever — extremely young superstars.

      OKC will return to the Finals next year.

      Sure would help if they could add Al Jefferson or Chris Paul or Josh Smith!

  37. Sandy says:

    NO excuse about Westbrook that’s all we have heard since he went down!! The team should have held their own without him. He”s not that great! Wtg grizzles, your the best!!!!! Going Fishing…….Love it.

  38. Jonas says:

    People do not need to criticize KD at all. He is an amazing player and deserves all the respect that he can get. He did extremely well this year, and did not hesitate to do his best and step upand take all the pressure even with the shocking absence of Russel Westbrook. He will be back next year, more experienced and ready for his ring.

  39. BD says:

    Would you all shut the hell up?! The grizzlies nearly swept the thunder, yet all anyone can talk about is kevin durant. Focus on the winning team!! I am sick of how the nba only seems to care about superstars! its a team game.

    And sure, maybe the thunder would beat the grizzlies if westbrook was healthy, who knows, but he wasn’t healthy, the grizzlies won and we will never know so move on with your lives!

  40. eris says:

    They were bested by a really good team, but I’m looking forward to seeing OKC powered by both Durant and Westbrook again

  41. This is a huge upset no doubt, who ever thought the Thunder would be eliminated like this?I´m speechless,but the Thunder will be back and eventually win a title over the next five years or so…

  42. rvvergara says:

    Many doubted Kobe could win a title without Shaq. Kobe proved them wrong. Without Westbrook Durant could only come up with three wins in total? Durant may be a good shooter but no, he isnt a great superstar yet.

    Let’s just suppose they got past the Griz and whoever wins between SAS and GSW, had they gotten to the Finals the Heat would’ve just pounded them like a piniata.

    • OKCKD35 says:

      that’s because Kobe got Pau, come on now.

    • 34yr fan says:

      go blog on the kings blog…….this is about a game/series in the strong conference………..and you are right about Kobe…..he needed to front office to go shopping in the league and ‘buy’ a few more of the best players on other teams……as usual….but it imploded on them this year…..OKC had a Fantastic season………..Especially when compared to the ‘all-star’ lakers…..See you in the playoffs next year Thunder !!

  43. wimperthunder says:

    bye bye okc. may be next year. may be never

  44. Denver says:

    OKC mistake was getting rid of James Harden who is more active than Kevin Martin, James Harden could have been the replacement player for injured WestBrook. OKC u made a terrible mistake!!!!

    • OKCKD35 says:

      yeah and after this year harden would walk and OKC would get nothing for him, at least we got some good draft picks out of it

      • 34yr fan says:

        ….should have found a way to pay him even if it meant releasing/trading other players……that simple…..they made the choice and it was the wrong one….it is not like they ore the only team that ever had to make a choice like that and then have it backfire. OKC will be back stronger after this experience….and with a better roster

  45. CRYsis says:

    I watched the game and it has been excellent defense by Memphis. They really made KD work hard. I am a Memphis fan but KD should have just driven that ball to the basket at the last 10 secs. Chances are, there will be a foul.

  46. Elijah says:

    I agree that KD isn’t super star material yet he is still realtively young in his career and there is a lot to build on with OKC. No doubt he will have at least two rings with the thunder or anywhere. He is also hall of game material but to get there he needs to learn to work under pressure

    • OKCKD35 says:

      all you people are hilarious, how is KD not a superstar? he only accounted for more % of his teams points than anyone in playoffs history. add that to the fact that Memphis was fouling him the entire series with no calls except for game 5. game 4 an overtime game KD took 3 FT’s. really? I know he was fouled much much more than that. all these games were 1 possession games with less than 1 minute to play. don’t act like this was a blow out because it every game was close. OKC will be back next year with Westbrook! After this playoffs I wouldn’t mind seeing us go after D12 of Millsap or Jefferson, OKC does need some post presence, and watching Perkins miss shot after shot from a foot away was killing me.

      • 34yr fan says:

        OKCKD35……..he is a “one-dimensional’ superstar…..OK?

      • One of the king's subjects says:

        Here is a brilliant idea maybe Grizzlies are the better team, how about instead of creating a thousand reasons why the thunder lost, just accept Memphis was the better team, and shut up. And you are aware that it is the Thunder vs Grizzlies, not Durant.. Durant… Durant…. Durant… and Westbrook vs Memphis. I feel bad about KD’s fanbase

      • YoYo says:

        Doesn’t matter how much stats you put up if you lose…

      • Joshua Greenfarb says:

        Thunder needs to go after Jefferson or Chris Paul or Josh Smith.

        NOT Dwight Howard. He’s still injured. NO WAY.

      • Tj says:

        Losing 4 times in a row is getting blown out lol

  47. Todd says:

    Listening to Scott Brook’s comments after the game, the reason for OKC loss is evident…poor coaching. Aside from the fact that OKC’s supporting cast did absolutely nothing to fill in the gap left by Westbrook. This exposes the Thunder for what they are…absolutely nothing without one player. You cannot pin your championship hopes on one player…especially when you have as much talent as OKC.
    I had quite a bit of respect for OKC, well all except for Westbrook, until the way they played the Rockets in the first round after Westbrook went down. They had the talent to beat the Rockets outright, without having to resort to bully/punk style basketball. Sorry KD, now you can quit whining about being second…go back pick up the pieces and start over.

  48. Charlie says:

    KD tried but could not. There is always next year. A lot of those plays were total mistakes, blame them on the coach.

    • BD says:

      Would you all shut the hell up?! The grizzlies nearly swept the thunder, yet all anyone can talk about is kevin durant. Focus on the winning team!! I am sick of how the nba only seems to care about superstars! its a team game.

      And sure, maybe the thunder would beat the grizzlies if westbrook was healthy, who knows, but he wasn’t healthy, the grizzlies won and we will never know so move on with your lives!

      • 34yr fan says:

        here…..here…..

      • myknucklehurts says:

        I’m pretty sure the reason that everyone is talking about KD is because the article that these comments revolve around is primarily about him.

  49. Choke says:

    Kevin “selfish” DuraChokeAlot !

    • thunderup says:

      the best player ever Micheal didnt have a ring at 25 trying to carry his team he couldnt is he a choke artist.He needed pippin and rodman.Its a team effort as mush as 1 player may score 1 person can play defence on five players.KD had two bad nights in a row his team other then two games from kevin floped the whole playoffs. However he was probley the reason the lost that last game 5-20 thats horrible he need westbrook because westbrook can get him ball for open looks he can play his natural position. but even the good players have bad night thats why you have a 15 man roster.Durant has Time

      • TEE says:

        Jordan did not need Rodman, just Pippin. Rodman was only there for half of the championships.

  50. Young Stunna says:

    Im tired of seeing people criticize KD and say that he is not a lebron or kobe yet. He is a very young player. He has three scoring titles. KD had to adjust super fast with Russel being out. He is a great player to even carry them past the Rockets. KD is defintely better than Kobe and is getting close to Durant. He just had a few off games but next year he will come back more experienced and prepared to get his ring. Kobe and Lebron didn’t get their rings by themselves they had help. So next year with the help of Westbrook and hopefully some other good post up player Durant and the THUNDER will turly be STORMING ON THEM OTHER TEAMS.

  51. QQ says:

    James Harden, enough said.

  52. Sonia says:

    I think this is the result of an excellent Grizzlies team and also, of the annoying Westbrook, Kendrick and Fisher. KD does not deserve this

    • jessica says:

      Shut the hell up. Grizzlies aren’t an excellent team, just because they beat the Thunder–WITHOUT Westbrook doesn’t mean they’re better. If I remember, OKC beat them last year. KD does deserve this, he’s an excellent, tremendous player and with the help of his teammates next year, they’ll make it all the way, and when they do, you better be scared.

      • chuck says:

        do you remember that a couple of years ago this same memphis team took OKC to 7 games WITH WESTBROOK and DURANT and HARDEN!!!…i firmly believe Memphis could have seized this series with Westbrook…

      • Adp says:

        Lol, the Grizzlies are an excellent team. They just exposed OKC for how bad the rest of their players are outside of KD and Westbrook. When the Grizz only have to focus on 1 person, that person is not going to shoot a high %. Gasol is defensive player of the year, Allen is NBA 1st defense, Conley is NBA 2nd defense. What did you expect?

        KD 5/21, yea that’s exactly what I expected.

      • chuck says:

        ohh and lets not forget that this team is WITHOUT Rudy Gay..so please give credit where is due..the better team got throug..so watch out for Memphis on making a run…

      • OKCKD35 says:

        yeah I remember that 2011 season, right before the playoffs we traded Krstic and Green for Perkins and moved Ibaka (rookie) to the starting line up, they had about 2 weeks to learn to play together before the playoffs. This OKC team is much better than the 2011 team when Westbrook is in the line up. Grizzlies fans are acting like they won the finals when they beat a team without its all star point guard. So far they have beaten 2 injured teams. lets see what happens if they face a healthy team.

      • thunderup says:

        With no westbrook and his team thorwing up brick the whole playoffs they couldnt win because memphis had all its focous on him.Three or four defenders wouldnt swarm him.Memphis might have tooken them to seven games a couple years back but durant has got better and with westbrook on the floor he a mush better player as are all the players on the thunder beacause he can also draw a double team.Plus he can brek defenders down get and to the lane and kick it out to shooters.They lost because not one could consistenly to that with getting a turnover or a good look for another player westbrook can do that and alot better then the past couple years. if look at westbrook numbers for the season 24ppg 8apg 6rpg thats Mvp stats honeslty. they need his 25-plus points he woulda averaged and he vison and his ability to get in the lane.you probobley would seen the exact oppisite concluion thunder in 5.GET HEALTHY WESTBROOK THEY NEED YOU.

      • 34yr fan says:

        OKCKD35……….trade deadline is in Feb….correct???

      • JJP says:

        With Westbrook it would have been a toss up, look at the regular season matchup!

    • JJP says:

      Sonic, not Sonia!

  53. t-mac says:

    I dont get why he had to bring lebron in this article lets face it durant did his best but came up short he aint no lebron hes kd
    and all that stuff you just wrote about lebron shying from pressure in 2011 and how he played bad in 2010 do you have amnesia about 2007 when he carried a WEAK team a really WEEK team to the finals all by himself in only his 4th year. KD is great i love him but hes no lebron and hes no kobe either but kd will get it done someday and will improve a lot from this experience beleive it

    • OKCKD35 says:

      tired of everyone comparing KD trying to carry his team through a much much better WESTERN conference to Lebron carrying his team through a really weak EAstern Conference. Lets face it the only other good team in the EAST during those years were Boston, and LBJ always struggled against them. If his old Cleveland team played this grizzlies team it would not be close.

    • 34yr fan says:

      yeah and bronbron got SWEPT because he “carries” his team……what a joke…………….AND for you OKCKD35….the grat players will ALWAYS be compared to each other…..get used to it dude…………..who knows , maybe we will see another team in Seattle so all of the bandwagonin’ former Sonics fans will be true to their roots and leave the Thunder to the okies????

  54. Angelica says:

    KD – Losing his focus..

    • mintball says:

      agree they prove that they can win without westbrook. they took game 1 of the series just don’t understand what happened to them after that.

  55. Oe\riga says:

    Goodluck to OKC! But the finals is gonna be Indiana VS Grizz…..Simple! Do you wanna bet?

    • sternh8r says:

      Yes

      • many says:

        the good thing about plaoffs is that regular season games do not count and momentun does not carry on to the next season.
        Indiana vs miami and Spars vs Grizzles will be tough serie. Miami and the spars are the best at making adjustments to they opponents. So far indiana and the grizzles have yet to make adjustments to match with opponents.

    • Saudi_Sandstorm says:

      How much you wanna bet on it? 25k dollars? I’ll bet for San antonio spurs and Miami heat on finals. Heat @ 6.

    • Pakyaw says:

      I’ll bet, if you put the right team in there(Miami vs spurs).. Lol..

    • iT says:

      Are you nuts?? Indiana would be kissing Miami’s azz!!

    • LOL says:

      Is KING JAMES retiring in the next round? Unless you know something I don’t. LEGEND JAMES will be there.

    • OKCKD35 says:

      Grizzlies are by far the dirtiest team in the playoffs, holding defenders on screens and In the post, constantly fouling knowing the officials wont blow the whistle every single play so they get away with it more times than not. Tony Allen on Fishers 3 pointer says it all, whatever it takes no matter if its cheating. yes I know you will say “he didn’t know the towel was I nthe shirt” but why was he at the out of bounds line swinging his shirt to distract Fisher anyway? I don’t understand why the officials will not blow the whistle every time down, maybe then Memphis will play a clean game of basketball and stop holding on every play

      • 34yr fan says:

        waaaaaaaaa, waaaaaaaa, waaaaaaaa………….sour grapes baby OKCKD35, sour grapes……thunder LOST because they were not GOOD ENOUGH….perioid . The playoffs are NOT for finesse type of teams which is what OKC is and the towel thing???? you are whining about the towel thing?????? Really? you are funny……LOL

      • Bespoken says:

        they already got the free throw and I do believe it’s a honest mistake. Besides if KD had a good shooting night you’ll sing a different tune. He was wide open at the last shot, no defender, no foul, nothing. He just blank point missed it.

      • JJP says:

        OKEVILLEKD35 is a poor sport, this time as in every time the deepest team wins! It may be OKC next year, that is sports!

      • Joshua Greenfarb says:

        Memphis was going to win the series, anyway, since Durant all-of-a-sudden went ICE COLD from the field. Otherwise, the series would still be ongoing. I didn’t foresee Durant missing so many shots that he normally makes.

        But it’s cool. I’ll cheer Memphis to win it all, although Miami is heavily favored to win the NBA Title again.

        However, Kevin Martin definitely didn’t get the benefit of the ref’s calls in this series. There was one possession where, I think, Tony Allen tripped, undercutting Martin which caused a turnover and easy score. But no foul called. There was another possession, I recall, where Martin took a 3-point shot and got totally mugged all over his shooting arm, but no foul was called.

        But it’s cool. The Thunder are so so so young that they will return to the Finals multiple times.

        It would help if they could add Al Jefferson or Josh Smith or Chris Paul or whatnot.

      • AJ Mills says:

        Grizzlies are a tough, physical team. They aren’t dirty, though–they don’t try to hurt other players and they don’t flop.

        If you want to call a team dirty because they create as much contact as they can get away with, well, there are at least 28 dirty teams in the NBA.

  56. NZBaller says:

    My brother and I were discussing it, and after watching this series, we both agreed that KD isn’t superstar quality yet. We both did agree that he was an insanely good shooter, one of the best in the NBA, but he just isn’t good enough to carry a team. He’s not a superstar yet because he’s never had to be, with having Westbrook to fall back on, he’s never had to be that one true carry.

    • 34yr fan says:

      ……….He is NO point forward………..NO one player carries the whole team….maybe for a game or two, but the BEST teams have several players that can and DO get the job done. just ask bronbron

    • Game Time says:

      How can you write off a player of KD’s caliber just like that?! The guy was fatigued from playing so many minutes so give him a break.

    • Ken says:

      I agree. Honestly, he doesn’t handle the bal well enough to dominate on his own.

    • Joshua Greenfarb says:

      KD is a superstar. HELLO? He is 2013 MVP-runner-up!!

      We can agree Lebron is the best in the game right now, overall, but KD is then second best. That makes KD a superstar.

  57. Bugz says:

    KD did his best, just got no solid contribution from his teamates. The Griz’s defense was just too much for him.

    • many says:

      how are the teamates going to help score when the ball did not leave kd hands

    • Bespoken says:

      KD had a off game. others did step up. Jackson’s 3 and fisher’s 3 both gave them momentum on different stretches. KD just need another superstar to hold the ground.

  58. What now OKC?? now you miss HARDEN Lol

    • Ordony says:

      Not Really, Harden gone Fishing in the first roung Thunder didn’t… you do the math idiot

      • Team South Beach says:

        So you think they didn’t missed Harden? You better open your eyes, or get a brain for that mater. Harden would have helped Durant big time against Memphis, they missed him and because of that they can all fish together now.

      • thunderup says:

        they still woulda lost evev with Harden-Harden no that good he can just draw fouls by throw his arm in to defnenders,shoot threes, and come of the pick roll. thats Nothing Hes a role player thats get to jack a bunch shots Parsons is better

      • 34yr fan says:

        ….Really thunderup??? You were singing a different tune when he was 6th man of the year last year……..LOL funny !!

      • YoYo says:

        Harden not that good? So 26pt, 5 rb, 6 asts, per is not good in your opinion?

      • okc is going. going. gone! says:

        Aww. U mad bro? So long thunder. Don’t catch em all now! Hahaha!

    • Bespoken says:

      @manila you seriously need to watch TNT and realize what a fool you are. Chuck warn us man.

    • NOwestbrookNOringChance says:

      We do not need harden. HELLLLLLLOOOOOOO we lost the best PG in the league at a horrible time. He makes everyone around him better and without him we are not the same team. Next year we will be back to the finals and better than ever. I honestly didn’t think we could beat the heat anyways but knew we would beat everyone else(with westbrook). Hats off to the grizz…they played great and beat us fair and square. Yes its true they would not have won if we had westbrook but that’s no excuse other players should have stepped up and they didn’t. It was sad to watch as a thunder fan

    • Ken says:

      Harden was gone after this year anyway. He made that clear when he rejected the $56 million over 4 years that he was offered. OKC couldn’t even afford that & we’re probably lucky he turned it down. Had he accepted, we would be maxed out with no shot to ever get the inside help we clearly need. So yeah, Harden could have helped this year, but OKC now has a brighter future because he left.

  59. Rhedz says:

    Okc and durant came up short….patients and more hard work can get you their kd…just wait and be patient…your time will come…make sure when it comes your ready and prepared…sorry okc…their is always next season…use your time to better yourselves…

  60. mcado85 says:

    It funny how you writers give so much praise to KD for his hard effort.
    however, when Kobe plays 48 minutes avg 37ppg and will his team to a (at the age of 34) winning season.
    You writers called him a ball-hog, selfish, he’s playing hero-ball.

    I love KD but at 25 yrs old he’s proven to be a great bb player but he is not a Kobe….. yet.

    • sternh8r says:

      Yes….your comments DO have a lot to do with this blog. Kobe is not a Kobe. Time for him to sue his momma, show us his crib on MTV and be broke in 5 years.

    • shhh says:

      your kobe was not mentioned in the article.
      the article is about KD and the Thunder!
      you’re obviously a kobe groupie.

    • OKCKD35 says:

      because Kobe is ball hogging with D12, and Pau on the court, who else could KD go to?

      • 34yr fan says:

        meaning the only people who can make shots regularly are Durant and RW ???? How are you gonna win a championship with a team like that ??? …..they traded Harden for the shooter Kevin Martin(no defense though)……keeping Ibaka and Thabo……BIG mistake , but I told you That , OKCKD35, at the beginning of the year AND after your disparaging remarks about the Spurs after the WC finals last year…..what a difference a year makes…huh??? ….AND I told you …after you claimed that everyone on the Thunder would play for less just to be a part of the team !! So, good luck with Russ coming back…….but Martin will never be a Harden type of player….and Harden is why they won the Conference finals last year. And besides with NO inside game t o speak of the Thunder wil always be a great scoring team and not much more….especially come playoff time when the game slows down a little ……….Have a great summer ….or should I say have a great time pulling for the Grizz to beat the Spurs(if they beat GS that is ….. as nothing is settled ther yet !!)

      • many says:

        the article is about thunder and KD but KD played the fourth quarters exactly how kobe has done it for years. I watch game 4 and his shot selection was ridiculous bad and it made no sence to not share the ball on a night when the rest of the team shot well. The difference between What kobe does and what KD did is that kobe is a ball hog all year long from preseason games to playoffs and KD had about 8 games to adjust playing without Russel west brock and all came during the playoffs where every loss matter

    • Game Time says:

      He’s 34 now so did I miss a separate season or something?

    • Ibaka says:

      Ok. It clearly shows that either KD is not as good as Kobe or Ibaka not as good as Gasol. If Ibaka is not as good as Gasol than why does he get a max contract? The owners desperation for good player that jacked up all contracts. Too many NBA players nowadays get pay what they dont deserve. Kobe and Gasol got two rings together!! Why cant KD and Ibaka?? Ibaka doesnt deserve a max contract! OKC shouldve kept Harden.

      • Ken says:

        Ibaka didn’t get a max contract, fool.

      • Joshua Greenfarb says:

        Ibaka didn’t get a “max” contract. What was his deal? About 4 years at 10 million each year? That’s not “max.”

        Thunder should have enough cap space to go after an elite free agent this offseason, such as Al Jefferson, Josh Smith, Chris Paul, etc.

    • Ej says:

      First of all you cant compare kd and kobe, kobe has been in nba for a very long time, kd only has 4 yrs expirience and hes a frekin monster, so stfu please

  61. Jug says:

    I don’t think OKC will ever win it all unless they get a low-post power player to support Durant and Westbrook in the half-court offense. Playoff games are more than usually a slowed-down, half-court set, grind inside-out game, and someone who can post up and back down defenders strong can help any team out in the playoff grind. A perimeter iso-dominated offense like that of OKC will have an hard time capturing a championship. Miami showed OKC that when they played Lebron down-low a lot of times last y

  62. BYE-OKC says:

    Gone Fishing