Though they’re working hard to defend each other, Thunder forward Kevin Durant and Houston forward Chandler Parsons still have found time to share brief pleasantries during breaks in the action on the court – such as standing side-by-side along the free-throw lane.
Both players are 24 years old, but are separated by four years in the NBA. They met when Chandler attended Durant’s 2010 Nike Skill Academy during the summer. “He’s an unbelievable guy,” Parsons said. “His work ethic is unbelievable and it’s crazy how good he is. I met him a while ago and he’s a good dude. His work ethic is really impressive and I look up to him.”
Parsons and Rockets teammate Francisco Garcia have alternated defending Durant throughout the opening-round series, which continues with Game 4 on Monday at 8:30 p.m. at Toyota Center. “He’s ultra aggressive no matter what,” Parsons said. “I expect him to come out even more aggressive (with Russell Westbrook out after season-ending knee surgery). Maybe a lot more plays will be ran through him. He’ll probably touch the ball a lot more. It’s going to be a real focal point to keep him from getting anything easy.”
A second-year player out of Florida, Parsons was the 38th overall pick (eighth selection in the second round) in the 2011 NBA Draft and has quickly gained respect league-wide for his hustle and all-around play.
Parsons expressed his frustration after Houston lost Games 2 and 3 by three points each. “We feel we should be up 2-1 right now, and we’re down 0-3,” Parsons said. “We’re never going to give up until we lose four games or we win four games. They still got to beat us one more time. That’s our mentality going (forward). It’s a one-game series from now on. We’re not going to hang our heads. We’re frustrated and we’re heartbroken right now, but we’ve got to use this feeling right now and get better (Sunday) and then be ready Monday night because the series is not over yet.”
- John Rohde