Oklahoma City Thunder: Kevin Durant defers
For Game 3 of the Thunder-Laker series, I wrote about Kevin Durant’s unselfishness – to a fault, at times. You can read my column here. I had to write that column before the post-game interview session. Game ends. Write. Then go talk to the ballplayers and coaches.
In the interview room, I asked Durant about his unselfishness. Told him I thought he might have passed a little much in a game in which no one on either team could be expected to make a shot except Durant (12 or 23) and inexplicable Laker point guards Ramon Sessions and Steve Blake (a combined nine for 13).
Twice in the last two minutes, Durant drove the lane and passed off. That’s after clearly displaying the ability to score in traffic – Durant made at least three shots that had one foot in the status of circus. One of the passes was a solid decision – a kickout to Serge Ibaka on the right baseline. Ibaka hesitated on an immediate 14-footer, made a fake and then launched a 16-footer that bounced off. Three possessions earlier, Durant drove and passed to Kendrick Perkins under the basket. Perk is a wonderful player and is invaluable in this series. But he’s got little chance with the ball in the lane in traffic. He can’t get off a shot over Andrew Bynum or Pau Gasol. They’re just too tall.
Here was Durant’s response: “I trust my teammates, no matter if they miss 20 shots in a row. A few times, I threw the ball to Perk under the rim. I trust him. Serge, I trust him shooting that corner jump shot. And Russ, a few 3s that rimmed out for him.” With the Thunder up 88-85 and less than 41/2 minutes left, Durant drove and passed to Russell Westbrook for 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions. Both bounced off.
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