Kevin Durant Sick of Spurs Questions
Kevin Durant was just three minutes into his 10-minute session with reporters Wednesday when he grew a bit testy. Of the first seven questions lobbed at him, Durant was forced to field five about the San Antonio Spurs. And he didn't like it. Didn't like it one bit. Once that fifth question came -- a reasonable query about what he anticipates from the Spurs defensively against him -- Durant tried to supply an answer but soon found himself swerving off script. "I’m just going to play my game," Durant started. "I can’t really think about how those guys are going to defend me. They’re a tough defensive group. But every question is about how the Spurs are going to come and how the Spurs are going to play. But you got to ask me how we’re going to come at them. We’re a tough team as well. We come out and play hard. We have a lot of weapons as well. I know they’re the No. 1 seed, they’re a tough group and they haven’t lost in a couple of months but I think that we bring another dimension to the table as well. And we can come out and compete." Durant has a point. Most every question players and Thunder coach Scott Brooks faced Wednesday was about how they were going to stop the Spurs. Not once did anyone, including yours truly, inquire about how they Spurs would stop them. Of course, there's a reason for that. As Durant said, the Spurs are a tough group. They're the No. 1 seed and the hottest team in basketball. And they just so happened to trounce the Thunder twice long before they got rolling in the final month of the regular season. Wednesday's media session was nothing more than a microcosm of the basketball world's widespread belief in the Spurs. Few will pick the Thunder to win this series. Oklahoma City, to many, just seems to be out-manned. Still, the Thunder's unwavering confidence was on full display Wednesday, with Durant's brief retort representing his team's self-belief. Durant wanted questions about his team, so I asked about his team. What makes you confident, I asked, against the Spurs? Where do you feel like you have the advantage? "I just think we play hard," Durant said. "We're athletic. I didn't say we were going to come out and dominate those guys. But I said that we can compete, of course. We can move the ball. I think cutting down on turnovers has been great for us these last couple of series. Also, just getting out and getting stops and trying to get easy points." All good answers. But none are quite good enough to keep the Thunder from walking into the Western Conference Finals on Sunday night in San Antonio as the underdog. Must be a rude awakening for Durant. In the span of three weeks he's seen his team transform from the darlings of the postseason and a heavy favorite in its prior two series to second fiddle. It's as if he senses that few outside of Oklahoma believe the Thunder can win. Before walking over to local reporters, Durant had just finished a sit-down interview with TNT, which sent bulldog sideline reporter Craig Sager to town as part of its coverage team. No telling what was asked in that closed-door meeting. But there's a good chance Sager stuck a mic on Durant and inquired about everything from the Spurs' regular season series win over the Thunder to San Antonio's history of excellence. Maybe that's what the Thunder needs going into this West final: a chip, an edge, a supply of just a little more motivation. And maybe all of it might stem from mounting skeptics now gushing over the Spurs. -DM-
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