Durant, Thunder starters to play tonight
Kevin Durant and all other Thunder starters except Nenad Krstic will play tonight in the regular season finale against Memphis.
Because Oklahoma City’s seed is determined, and the Thunder has nothing to gain tonight in the Ford Center other than reaching 50 wins, there was speculation coach Scott Brooks might rest some of his starters.
“I can’t comment on what other teams do but I know how we feel,” Brooks said. “It’s important that we continue to work on what we have to do to get better. Most of our guys want to play. That’s who they are. They love playing basketball.
“It would be shocking if they came to me and said, ‘Can you sit me out.’ Kevin is begging for 48 minutes every game. I have to milk him, (telling him) ‘You have to have two five-minute rest periods. Go sit down in the corner and enjoy your teammates playing well.’ Our guys like to play.”
Krstic, sidelined the past three games with a bruised knee, is expected to be ready for Game 1 against the Lakers Sunday afternoon in the Staples Center.
“He did some shooting today,” Brooks said. “Tomorrow he will increase that, then every day (increase his rehab more). We’re hopeful (he’ll be ready).”
The subplot is Durant should win the league scoring title. Durant is averaging 30.1 points, Cleveland’s LeBron James’ 20.7. James essentially has to score 33 more points than Durant.
That will be near impossible, especially if Durant posts his average of 30 points. Under that scenario, James would have to score 63 points. James’ career high is 56.
“Kevin scores,” Brooks said. “He takes good shots. Our offense is built around ball movement and taking good shots. It’s tough to stop him. He brings so many good things offensively. It would be great if he ends up getting it. But he’s into winning games and helping us become a better team.”
Reaching 50 wins would be a milestone, especially for Durant, Jeff Green and Nick Collison, three players who endured a 43-121 record the previous two seasons.
“That would be nice,” Brooks said. “Those three guys have been through a lot the past three years. Most of the other guys have been through a 23-win season last season.”
Green said he views tonight’s game as an opportunity to build momentum heading into the playoffs, a best-of-seven series that starts Sunday against the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers.
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