Durant on stepping up: ‘What being a man is all about’

By Jeff Caplan, NBA.com

VIDEO: GameTime: What Durant, Thunder must do in Game 3

OKLAHOMA CITY – Kevin Durant wore a 2012 Thunder practice T-shirt during Saturday’s practice. Coincidence or homage to the ’12 Western Conference finals when Oklahoma City rallied from a 2-0 deficit to win the next four against the San Antonio Spurs?

“Definitely a coincidence,” Durant said, looking down at his shirt to verify the year printed on it. “This is on my laundry list today.”

Durant has a lot on his list these days. The MVP and his teammates have spent the last three days shaking off two horrific losses on the Spurs’ home floor. Durant is coming off a 15-point outing, his lowest point total in a playoff game since scoring 11 points in Game 6 against Memphis of the 2011 second-round series.

On Saturday, Durant put his team’s two-way dysfunction squarely on his shoulders.

“I’ve got to do more. I’ve got to dig deeper and find out what it is and how I can help my team out a little bit more by having to do more, and I own up to everything,” Durant said. “I own up to not playing well and own up to our team losing two in a row by that much, own up to it, and as it is, I’ve got to take it on the chin and learn from it and get better from it and try to put out a better game in Game 3.”

The Thunder might have athletic power forward Serge Ibaka back in the lineup for Sunday night’s game at Chesapeake Energy Arena (8:30 p.m. ET, TNT). Durant said the team is preparing as if Ibaka won’t play, and even if Ibaka does, it remains to be seen just how effective he can be 10 days after sustaining a Grade 2 left calf strain.

Durant said the Thunder are well-versed in being pushed into a postseason corner and have continually bounced back. OKC trailed Memphis 3-2, then won the next two games to take the series. In danger of falling behind 3-2 to the Clippers in Game 5, Durant and the Thunder reeled off seven consecutive points in the final minute to win the game and then win the series in six games.

However, losing by a combined 52 points to this humming Spurs team with weapons at all five positions, and with no guarantee that Ibaka will play, or be effective if he does, has many believing a Thunder comeback to be virtual impossibility.

Durant says they can do it. But how?

“Well, just embracing those moments and knowing that tough times build your character, and I think this is another step for us, another obstacle for us, and we’re going to see what we do, how we handle it,” Durant said. “That’s what being a man is all about, and that’s what a team is all about is going through tough times.  It’s kind of easy to stay together when you’re sweeping a series, but to hit some adversity like we’ve done in this playoffs shows the type of team we are.

“We’ve always been a bounce-back type of team, so we’ve got to make sure we don’t just talk about it but go out there and do it.”

26 Comments

  1. RP says:

    There are some really jealous jerks on here that can’t seem to accept a great player’s success….but this comment takes the cake. I’ve lived here my whole life and can tell you that Oklahoma is not about racists and the KKK. You’re entirely full of it! And the jokes about San Antonio are coming from the TNT crew…..not Oklahomans.

  2. gMoney says:

    The propaganda surrounding Durant sickens me. The “Durant works hard” videos, the “mum, you’re the real MVP” videos, the “Durant beat down on Memphis” video. Durant gets every foul call, gets away with travelling and carrying the ball. The NBA is a great spectacle and I enjoy most of it, but not this guy. Durant doesn’t win big games on merit and so shouldn’t be the league MVP.

  3. WOW says:

    Durant needs to calm down. He does everything to get attention, don’t worry about what shirt you are wearing, worry about game 3

  4. Alloush says:

    Spurs , the champions

  5. Unkle Daddy says:

    I like Durant, and think he is a great player with a great attitude. But, with that being said just because you have the MVP doesn’t mean your the best player or have the best team… Miami has the best player, and the Spurs are the best team. All I can say is if OKC really wants more for their franchise, get this kid some more help, he and Westbrook can’t do it all.

  6. Clippers Fan says:

    Let’s go Slim Reaper, you guys didn’t beat us Clippers to get swept by the Spurs. The people are tired of the Spurs and want to see you go head to head with King James!

  7. James Bittel says:

    Sorry Kevin, but you don’t have a coach lie Greg, or you might take this series.

  8. Jackson the pug says:

    Racist pigs and kkk is what Oklahoma is all about. I already heard the racist jokes about San Antonio. Team basketball is not one person. It’s all about the team.

  9. okc2014 says:

    KD not a man, she is a girl and I am not a fan of her anymore. Go Westbrook! Lead the way!

  10. yeah says:

    You only have a certain number of bullets in the magazine, and they fired them all against the clippers.

  11. Brad says:

    Spurs in 5! It is a team sport not an individual game. KD and Westbrook can’t win it on their own, and Ibaka, even if he returns won’t be playing with enough grit to stop the Fundamental. OKC will take it on Sunday based on home crowd energy, then spurs will close them out in game five on their home court. Spurs are finally peaking at the right time, I LOVE THE PLAYOFFS! GO SPURS GO!

  12. MJFan says:

    start the offense with durant and westbrook practice more on your 3rs

  13. Brad says:

    I hope the Spurs can defeat the dreaded Miami Heat!

  14. Brad says:

    Booga Booga!

  15. Elliott says:

    OKC WILL WIN THIS SERIES QUOTE ME ON IT!!!!!

  16. aboyd says:

    Durant thinking it is up to him to lead the Thunder back vs Spurs is one reason why you will never win a championship. It is a team game bud.

  17. Yusa says:

    Spurs are at their best right now, playing as a team and what Pop had plan executed well. Can the thunder win with Durant scoring 35-50ish? Probably, but they need to play as a team. You can’t beat Spurs with 1 or 2 player you need role player to step up. Look at what the Heat-Spurs Final series last year, the Heat gave their best from head to bottom and they almost fell short with the great Spurs team. If OKC can’t find a way in Game 3 then it is most likely over.

  18. okc2014 says:

    The whole team needs to, and will step up. OKC2014.

  19. Moe says:

    Do it TP9 give OKC no hope. Deliver the Haymaker to OKC and take WCF in 5 games. We are a deeper team then last year. Dallas woke up the sleeping Dragon. Ibaka or no Ibaka we still take it. Bottom line this isn’t the 2012 Spurs. Yes, we can lose a game but not going to lose the series.

  20. OKCfan3 says:

    Come on OKC.