Game 4 loss a painful one for Thunder's Kevin Durant
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But clearly, Durant was frustrated, miffed at who knows what. The officials? The defenders?
“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.