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Game 4 loss a painful one for Thunder's Kevin Durant

by Jenni Carlson Published: May 24, 2011

/articleid/3570888/1/pictures/1425705">Photo - Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant (35) and Serge Ibaka (9) walk back to defend the final 0.7 seconds of regulation after Durant had a three-point shot blocked in the fourth quarter during game 4 of the Western Conference Finals in the NBA basketball playoffs between the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklahoma City Thunder at the Oklahoma City Arena in downtown Oklahoma City, Monday, May 23, 2011. Dallas won in overtime, 112-105. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant (35) and Serge Ibaka (9) walk back to defend the final 0.7 seconds of regulation after Durant had a three-point shot blocked in the fourth quarter during game 4 of the Western Conference Finals in the NBA basketball playoffs between the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklahoma City Thunder at the Oklahoma City Arena in downtown Oklahoma City, Monday, May 23, 2011. Dallas won in overtime, 112-105. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman

“You let them worry about the fouls,” Brooks said of the officials.

But clearly, Durant was frustrated, miffed at who knows what. The officials? The defenders?

Himself?

“He's just one of those guys that needs the constant attention,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said.

And the Mavs gave it to Durant, primarily courtesy of Shawn Marion.

“Durant needs to be wearing him,” Carlisle said.

He was much of Monday night. Marion stuck to Durant like static cling on a winter sweater, but as good as that one-on-one defense was, it was the Mavericks' team defense that made the difference against Durant.

On the biggest play of the series, the final play of regulation, Durant caught the ball at halfcourt, but when he looked toward the basket, he saw three Mavs coming at him.

So, he shot from at least 8 feet behind the three-point line.

“I didn't know what else to do,” he said, the frustration obvious in his voice. “I didn't want to run into their defense and get another turnover.”

Instead, Marion blocked the shot, and even though there was overtime left to play, the Thunder was sunk.

“You know, late in the game, it's my time,” Durant said, unmoving with his fist planted on his temple. “And a few of those times, it was just too clogged up.”

Durant scored 14 points in the first quarter but then managed only 15 points the rest of the game.

He had none in overtime.

His mission now?

“Try to bring it back here to OKC,” he said flatly.

Who knows whether that will happen? Dallas is surging. Oklahoma City is reeling.

But know this — this game wounded Durant. Cut him deep. Hurt him bad.

There will come a day when that wound will become a scar.

There will also come a day when that scar will be motivation to make amends for what happened in Game 4, to never feel again the disappointment that he felt at the end of Monday night.

by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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