Durant says Thunder have got to move it

By Jeff Caplan, NBA.com


VIDEO: Thunder blow a 16-point fourth quarter lead in L.A. Sunday

HANGTIME SOUTHWEST – Twenty-four hours later and 1,300 miles from the scene of the crime, Kevin Durant was still trying to dispel the notion that little-bitty Chris Paul successfully mugged the MVP in the fourth quarter of the Los Angeles Clippers’ incredible comeback victory in Sunday’s series-evening Game 4.

“Everybody keeps saying Chris Paul guarding me. It wasn’t just Paul,” Durant told reporters following the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Monday practice back at their training facility. “He’s physical, he’s smaller than me, of course it was  harder when little guys get up under you. But they’re not just going to let Chris Paul play me one-on-one. That’s a team game. Basically they got three guys watching me, got a guy behind me so when I caught it they double-teamed as soon as I caught it, and when they didn’t double-team, I scored.

“So people always got something to say about the one-on-one matchups, which never happens in this league, especially with me. I got to figure out ways to cut harder and make harder movements because if they’re going to put two guys on me than my teammates are going to be open.”

Durant said the solution to the Thunder’s troubles after leading 82-66 with nine minutes left in a game they appeared to have under control — and would have given them a commanding 3-1 lead in this West semifinals series heading into Tuesday’s Game 5 (9:30 p.m. ET, TNT) — is simple.

They’ve got to move.

“We can’t just sit there and just try to force it to me because that’s what they want me to do,” Durant said. “They want those guys to front and get up under me. By the time we sit there and just force-feed it down, time is running off, so by the time I passed out of it, there’s two or three seconds left on the shot clock. I’ve got to move around a little bit more and not try to demand the ball when there’s basically two [defenders] going to guard me, so got to make their defense move.”

Durant said spacing the floor and putting the Clippers’ smallish backcourt of 6-foot point guards Paul and Darren Collison in pick-and-roll coverage should work to their advantage. He said when the ball was forced into him and teammates stood around and watched, L.A.’s small guards were like gnats swarming his long arms and preventing from him passing out.

Like Durant said, when he didn’t have the little-man trap nipping at him he still managed to score 10 of his game-high 40 points in the fourth quarter. Only the double-teams came often and he had no assists while playing the entire fourth quarter. He had just one more field goal (four) on five attempts than turnovers (three).

“Mostly [Sunday] every time I passed the ball there was a guy on my arm,” Durant said. “I’m 6-9. There’s no way two 6-footers are going to get the ball, so you do the math. … “I have to do a better job catching the balls and passing out of double-teams better and being stronger with the ball.”

The math in this series now shows two games apiece. The Thunder were nine minutes away from playing to close out the series on their home floor. They say they’ve thrown out Game 4 and are ready to move on. They’re confident they’ll continue to score at the high rate they have against the Clippers — 111.8 points per 100 possessions — and that they won’t get tripped up again by a lineup and defensive tactic that even Clippers coach Doc Rivers described as “desperate.”

“I do understand this, Kevin has seen every type of defense,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. “They’re not going to guard Kevin with a small and keep a small on him, they’re going to guard him with multiple guys and that’s what they did. We have to do a better job of being able to react to those double teams and be able to capitalize on their decision to double team Kevin or Russell [Westbrook] 17, 18 feet out.”

Or as Durant put it: “We’ve got to move it.”

19 Comments

  1. Blog-So-Hard-2014 says:

    ..Oh, and Blake Griffin can’t hoop! Sorry!

  2. Blog-So-Hard-2014 says:

    Kevin Durant is tall, but LeBron is a BIGGER player
    Reggie Miller is tall, but Jordan is a BIGGER player

  3. Blog-So-Hard-2014 says:

    Durant has gotta hit the weights, c’mon man!!!!

  4. OKEDOKE2014 says:

    I think defense will decide series and Clippers are far better on D

  5. OKEDOKE2014 says:

    Clippers come out HOT in game 5, both sides of the ball! Both teams can win away so this probably will go to game 7???

  6. okc2014 says:

    Kevin Durant will be on fire tonight and OKC will this series!

  7. tylerallen86 says:

    Ibaka is the dirtiest player in the NBA! When a man hits another man in that location on accident he apologizes or a least makes a face that says “oh my bad”. Are you saying he didn’t know the place his fist landed? How naive are you NBA? It would be one thing if we were talking about a respected player like duncan! Were not though were talking about Ibaka…who already has a history of hitting griffin below the belt!

    Suspend Z-bo and not Ibaka…Well NBA your the only one who doesn’t think thats a double standard!

    • okckd35 says:

      Yeah maybe ibaka should be suspended by rule. Also thinks griffen deserves ever u thing he gets cuz he plays dirty and flops.all.over. just look at ibakas last technical. Got it for sweeping his leg.because griffen had his foot trapped on purpose while he was flopping on the ground. Id like to punch griffen in his nuts. Just his smirk makes.me want to slap him

  8. thespectator says:

    yeah i agree at TheKush. kd needs a lo post to play against those smaller players…he may be a sniper of a jump shooter but when you have those pesky guards or smaller players on you pushing up on you and throwing your balance off, the jumpshot will not save you, as we saw in game 4. if kd had the ability to back in players and beat em up inside, hed really be a perfect offense weapon…but ya this may end up going 7. if clipps can pull off a road win again at okc, they may be able to close it out in LA…but dont count OKC out…this is by far the best matchup of the playoffs as of right now.

  9. djiunit94 says:

    I see Clippers win in seven games series … They show us that they are not afraid about winning away in game 1 and show that they are able to defend strongly and seriously in game 4 despite +20 pts lead opponent …
    GO CLIPPERS ! SHOW US WHAT YOU LEARN AND WHO YOU IMPROVE DURING ALL THIS SEASON !!!

    • okckd35 says:

      They will only get their hometown hollywood calls (game 4) in one more game as 2 of 3 are in OKC

    • kd's abeast says:

      Okc blew the 20 point lead nd hand the clippers the game it wasnt bcuz of clippers defense. Even russ said after the 22 point lead they began to relax, they stopped playing defense and stop rebounding the ball. This was the first game in the entire series they were outrebounded come on open your eyes people.

  10. Faba says:

    common Durant is taller than 6-9 he is at least 6-10 or 6-11

  11. DEP_INSANE says:

    I got OKC still winning in 6 or 7

  12. kobeballhog says:

    That okc team is so much overrated with the greateast ballhig duo in tow. Clippers are more like a real team. No single player hogging all the shots. Thays what clippers are better in this series. An overrated ballhog will never go far in the playoffs. I have clippers winning this series just keep their composure and head in the game and just let westbroom durant keep to their ballhogging ways.

  13. TheKush says:

    Durrant needs a low post game. When chris paul guarded him he should have got paul in the low post and dunked on him. But I wonder if scott brooks even has any plays like that for Durrant. Durrants wingspan makes him unstoppable if he wants to be. Anyway great series between OKC and Clippers I got OKC winning it but this looks like another 7 game series.