By Sekou Smith, NBA.com
HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — In a season filled with jaw-dropping plays, Kevin Durant outdid himself with that incredible 4-point play from the wing against the Memphis Grizzlies.
Check it from every angle and there’s no way Durant is even supposed to get that shot off over Marc Gasol, let alone swish it as he’s falling out of bounds.
Is it wrong for us to expect to be dazzled again in Game 3 tonight (8 p.m. ET, TNT)?
Of course, not!
It’s the playoffs, where legends are made and jaw-dropping plays happen on the regular. Durant and the Thunder will need to make plenty tonight in Memphis. Game 3 is huge for both teams. The Thunder cannot afford to dig a hole while on the road for Games 3 and 4 and then return home with all of that pressure for Game 5.
Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley won the 2013-14 NBA Sportsmanship Award today, but there will be nothing hospitable about what awaits the Thunder in Memphis tonight. Grizzlies fans will have The FedEx Forum rocking and the battle between Conley and Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook should be as entertaining as ever.
But the hero ball aspect of the Thunder’s attack (namely with Durant and Westbrook taking turns playing hero) has to stop, according to Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman:
Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant have combined to take 100 of the Thunder’s 169 shot attempts in Oklahoma City’s first two games of this first-round series against Memphis.
That’s 59.1 percent of the team’s attempts.
The duo has taken 34 of the team’s 43 shots in the fourth quarters and overtime.
That’s 79 percent.
Hero ball, at least for the time being, appears to be back.
And that’s not a good thing. Never has been for the Thunder.
The question is can OKC get away from that style in Game 3 on Thursday night in Memphis? Against the gritty Grizzlies, it seems the Thunder has to.
“We have to trust what we do and not try to scrap it (and look) for the homerun play,” said forward Nick Collison. “In our history, we’ve gone to that sometimes and it doesn’t work very well.”
Well, a little bit of hero ball never hurts. It worked well for Durant on that 4-point play …