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Oklahoma City Thunder: Kevin Durant talks at Olympic practice

by Berry Tramel Published: July 11, 2012

<strong>FIRST QUARTER</strong> Thunder 33, Heat 19 Miami controlled the tip. Chris Bosh connected for a 2-0Miami lead. But then the Thunder scored 9 unanswered points. Miami gets a free-throw. But Thunder rolls again to a 13-3 lead. When Russell Westbrook hits fourth field on four attempts for 15-5 Thunder lead with more than 7 minutes left in the first quarter, the Thunder had equaled their first quarter production of Game 2 when Miami had a 27-15 lead after one. When Nick Collison connects at just under four minutes for a 23-12 the Thunder has their most points in the first quarter in the 2012 NBA Finals. Westbrook gives Oklahoma Citya 25-12 lead. That’s the Thunder’s largest lead of the Finals at 13 points. Miami calls a timeout at the 2:59 mark in the first quarter. Collison big impact and gives Thunder a 29-14 lead. When Durant goes to the basket for a 31-16 lead, that 31 points marks the most by either team in the first quarter in the four games. James Harden makes it 33-16. Quarter ends at 33-19. The largest margin after first quarter had been the Heat’s 12-point lead in Game 2. Thunder leads this one by 14 points. &nbsp; After the first quarter in: Game 1:Miami29,Oklahoma City22 Game 2:Miami27,Oklahoma City15 Game 3:Miami26,Oklahoma City20 Game 4:Oklahoma City33,Miami19

<strong>FIRST QUARTER</strong> Thunder 33, Heat 19 Miami controlled the tip. Chris Bosh connected for a 2-0Miami lead. But then the Thunder scored 9 unanswered points. Miami gets a free-throw. But Thunder rolls again to a 13-3 lead. When Russell Westbrook hits fourth field on four attempts for 15-5 Thunder lead with more than 7 minutes left in the first quarter, the Thunder had equaled their first quarter production of Game 2 when Miami had a 27-15 lead after one. When Nick Collison connects at just under four minutes for a 23-12 the Thunder has their most points in the first quarter in the 2012 NBA Finals. Westbrook gives Oklahoma Citya 25-12 lead. That’s the Thunder’s largest lead of the Finals at 13 points. Miami calls a timeout at the 2:59 mark in the first quarter. Collison big impact and gives Thunder a 29-14 lead. When Durant goes to the basket for a 31-16 lead, that 31 points marks the most by either team in the first quarter in the four games. James Harden makes it 33-16. Quarter ends at 33-19. The largest margin after first quarter had been the Heat’s 12-point lead in Game 2. Thunder leads this one by 14 points. &nbsp; After the first quarter in: Game 1:Miami29,Oklahoma City22 Game 2:Miami27,Oklahoma City15 Game 3:Miami26,Oklahoma City20 Game 4:Oklahoma City33,Miami19

Kevin Durant (45) makes a pass as the U.S. men's national basketball team practices at the Mendenhall Center on the UNLV campus in Las Vegas on Friday, July 6, 2012. (AP Photo/Las Vegas Review-Journal, Jason Bean)

Kevin Durant has watched all the NBA player movement in these first two weeks of July, almost all of it unrelated to the Thunder, and he has a description: crazy.

That’s the word Durant used Wednesday when interviewed by NBATV prior to an Olympic team practice in Las Vegas. And Durant even offered up the move that most surprised him.

“Ray Allen moving to the Heat,” Durant said. “Of course, that was a surprise. I thought he would stay with Boston. But that’s the NBA for you. It’s going to be a fun season next year.

“It’s been a crazy off-season. It’s cool to see other players go to different teams. But for me, all I can worry about is how I work individually and how we work as a team and what moves we’re making in Oklahoma City.”

Here’s Durant on some other issues:

On his schedule, going from the NBA Finals to the U.S. team with very little break: “Non-stop basketball. That’s the way I like it.”

On how U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski is trying to build team chemistry without having all his players yet available: “We still have some time. Chemistry is tough to build. You can’t build it over one day or two days. We have guys here that are team-first guys. Everybody wants to come out and sacrifice. We’re just looking forward to going out there and playing for our country. It’s going to be fun.”

On establishing chemistry among individuals, considering five members of the Olympic team were on the U.S. World Championships team in 2010: “We play against these guys every single night. We respect each other’s game. It’s almost kind of easy to come out here and play with LeBron James or Carmelo Anthony. Everybody’s a willing passer. We want to come out there and sacrifice, guys don’t want to take all the shots. We just want to go out there and try to play together. It’s about one group, going out there and trying to achieve a common goal, which is the gold medal.”

On part of that sacrifice being Durant to play power forward for the U.S.: “It’s going to be tough. Those guys are physical in international play. It’s about, for me, using my quickness and athleticism. I just want to go out there and have fun. That’s what it boils down to. If we play together, we’ll be fine.”

On who will take the last shot in a close game: “Hopefully we won’t have to get into too many close games. If it does, I think we’re going to have to do it as a group. Of course, there’s going to be questions about, ‘who’s that guy that’s going to take the last shot?’ I guess whoever’s hot at that time. It’s kind of like picking your poison. We have so many great scorers, great passers, great rebounders, that we just gotta do it together.”

On Durant and Westbrook playing with Thunder teammate James Harden: “It’s very special. I’m so happy for James. He worked so hard. He deserves everything he’s getting. Had a phenomenal season for us. He came out here and showed the coaches why he belonged. He’s a guy that was doing all the little things that you need on a team. Talking, rebounding, passing, getting deflections and steals, keeping possessions alive. He’s going to be very important for us, a guy that can play three positions and has a Euro type of game as well. I’m glad he’s on the team and I can’t wait to experience everything with him.”

On the competitiveness of the practices: “Oh man, it’s been fun to see how competitive it is. We’ve got Kobe (Bryant) and Melo and Russell and all those guys on one floor. They hate to turn the ball over or miss a shot.”

 


by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The...
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