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OKC Thunder: Kevin Durant says Thunder misses Russell Westbrook

Durant knew full well what he had in sidekick Westbrook. Still, that hasn't stopped Westbrook's absence from making Durant's heart grow fonder for his All-Star point guard.
by Berry Tramel and Darnell Mayberry Modified: May 13, 2013 at 11:42 pm •  Published: May 13, 2013
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Kevin Durant knew full well what he had in sidekick Russell Westbrook.

Still, that hasn't stopped Westbrook's absence from making Durant's heart grow fonder for his All-Star point guard.

Durant on Monday was asked what he's learned about himself while playing without the injured Westbrook.

“That we need him,” Durant said. “We miss him.”

Durant entered Game 4 against Memphis averaging 34 points, 10.6 rebounds, 6.1 assists, 1.6 steals and 0.9 blocked shots in seven games without Westbrook, who recently underwent season-ending knee surgery. But the Thunder was 3-4 in those games.

“Guys have got to step up now,” Durant said. “I think I've taken more of a load of scoring and facilitating and rebounding. But of course when you have your All-Star out we miss him. But it's no excuse. We still got to get the job done.”

Durant went on to downplay his performance when asked if he's surprised himself at how much he's been able to raise his level of play.

“What have I done? We're down 2-1,” Durant said before the game. “In the playoffs, that don't ever really matter. It's about wins and losses. We're down 2-1. I've got to figure out a way to help us out a little more. I always can do more.”

IBAKA EARNS FIRST-TEAM ALL-DEFENSE

For the second straight season, Thunder forward Serge Ibaka was selected to the NBA All-Defensive First Team, the league announced Monday.

Ibaka led the NBA with 3.03 blocks per game this season. With 242 total blocked shots, Ibaka joined Dikembe Mutombo (1994-98) as the only player to lead the league in blocked shots for three straight seasons.

The Thunder averaged a league-best 7.61 blocks this season, the second straight season the team led the league.

Ibaka was joined on the first team by Miami's LeBron James, New York's Tyson Chandler, Chicago's Joakim Noah, Memphis' Tony Allen and Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul.

TRANSITION GAME

The Thunder scored 23 fast break points in Game 3 as the team made a concerted effort to get more easy baskets in transition.

In the first two games against the Grizzlies, the Thunder scored just six and seven points, respectively, in transition.

By halftime Monday, the Thunder had eight fast break points.

“We are definitely a transition team,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. “We've been that way all season and we want to continue. I know we're a little different now, but we still want to stay with our core principles. That's attacking when there's opportunities, but also just continue to have good execution in the half-court.”

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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 Oklahoman,...
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by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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