We asked Kevin Durant to name his most memorable big shots at every level of basketball. Then, we asked him to narrow the list to his favorite five and share what he most remembers most about those.
Game-winner against Dallas
The date: Dec. 29, 2011
The play: Trailing 102-101 with 1.4 seconds remaining after allowing a go-ahead 3-pointer to Vince Carter, the Thunder inbounded the ball from the sideline with enough time for only a catch-and shoot. Guard Thabo Sefolosha inbounded the ball on the right wing to a curling Durant, who received a double screen from James Harden and Kendrick Perkins. Durant caught it, squared and fired a rhythmic 3-pointer. The ball splashed through the net as time expired, sparking pandemonium inside Chesapeake Energy Arena.
The impact: It was Durant's third buzzer-beating game-winner of his career, proving once and for all he can bury the big shot. This one gave the Thunder a 104-102 win and lifted Oklahoma City to 4-0 to start the season. Durant also finished with 30 points, marking the fourth straight game he scored at least 30. He joined Kobe Bryant as the only other player in the last 25 seasons to score at least 30 in his team's first four games.
The memory: “That was just emotional for me. I don't know why to be honest. But I gave up, essentially, the game-winner to Vince Carter and I was able to not think about that and knock that next shot down. So that was big for me and my confidence.”
Game-winner against New York
The date: Jan. 22, 2011
The play: With the game tied at 98-all, the Thunder inbounded the ball from the sideline with 6.5 seconds remaining. Thabo Sefolosha threw it in to Russell Westbrook. Westbrook got it to Durant for an isolation at the top of the key on former Knicks forward Danilo Gallinari. Durant took three dribbles to his right, pulled up and shot a fadeaway 3-pointer over Gallinari from just in front of the Knicks bench. As the shot dropped, Durant calmly walked the other way as Thunder fans again erupted.
The impact: This was Durant's second buzzer-beating game-winner and the first time Oklahoma City fans got to see him be the hero. Durant's first buzzer-beating game-winner came while playing in Seattle as a rookie. He defeated the Hawks in Atlanta on Nov. 16, 2007. This shot gave the Thunder a 101-98 win and snapped a two-game Thunder losing streak.
The memory: “After so many times of trying to hit game-winners, I finally hit one. It gave me a lot of confidence as well.”
3-pointer against Texas A&M
The date: Feb. 28, 2007
The play: In an instant classic, Durant drilled a shot that had Longhorns fans inside the Frank Erwin Center thinking they had won the game. Durant knocked down a 3-pointer to give Texas a 76-72 lead with 23 seconds remaining.
The impact: The shot ultimately was nothing more than a much-needed cushion. A&M hit a 3 just eight seconds later to pull within one before D.J. Augustin made two foul shots to push Texas' lead back to three. Then, A&M guard Acie Law made a miraculous 3-pointer over Durant with 1.4 seconds left to tie it and send it to overtime. Texas would need two overtimes to win it after Law hit another huge 3 late in the first overtime.
The memory: “That was kind of like, really, my first, first big-time game, big shot. Even though we still went into overtime after that, that was a big shot for me. And just the energy that was in the building after I hit that shot was second to none.”
Step back on Shane Battier
The date: May 9, 2011
The play: Ahead by six with 36 seconds remaining, Durant iced the game with a cold-blooded, crossover, step-back jumper on Memphis forward Shane Battier in Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals. Durant began by dribbling out some clock at the top of the key. When he went into his move, Durant crossed over to his left, then rocked Battier back to the right before quickly threading the ball behind his back and pulling up for a 19-foot jumper from the left elbow.
The impact: The shot gave the Thunder an eight-point lead with 29.3 seconds remaining. Oklahoma City held onto a 133-123 triple-overtime win in Memphis to tie the series at 2-2 and regain home-court advantage.
The memory: “Just the importance of the game. We were down in the first half. We were going to go down 3-1 if we would have lost that game. And we fought back from almost 20 down and took it to three overtimes and we were able to win that game in the playoffs. And the playoffs is the highest level of basketball.”
Catch and shoot 3 at New York
The date: Feb. 20, 2010
The play: Down 105-102 with six seconds remaining at Madison Square Garden, the Thunder used Durant this time to inbound the ball to Russell Westbrook from the sideline. Westbrook took five dribbles to his right, just enough to set up action away from the ball. Nick Collison showed a fake screen on Westbrook's man before bolting toward Durant's man, Danilo Gallinari, and annihilating him with a screen at the top of the key. It freed up Durant to catch a bullet pass from Westbrook and step into a wide open straight on 3-pointer that hit nothing but net, tying the game with six seconds remaining.
The impact: The shot sent the game into overtime, where the Thunder got the go-ahead jumper from Durant with 16 seconds remaining, as well as a pair of free throws with 10 seconds left that iced it for a 121-118 Thunder win in overtime. It was the Thunder's eighth straight victory, and by finishing with 36 points Durant bumped his streak of scoring 25 or more to 27 straight games.
The memory: “Just the mecca of basketball, Madison Square Garden. And it was hype around it. T-Mac (Tracy McGrady) came back and played very well that first game he came back. And just the fact that the Garden was really jumping like it was the playoffs. That was important, too.”
KD IN THE CLUTCH
A look at how Kevin Durant has evolved as a crunch time scorer.
* Clutch stats are defined as production that comes in the fourth quarter or overtime, with less than five minutes left and neither team ahead by more than five points.
* Points per 48 minutes of clutch time production