MAITLAND, Fla. — The most deliberated topic during Tuesday's action in the Orlando Summer League centered around the availability of Kevin Durant. Why would the reigning Rookie of the Year dress out? Why would he dare play? After three quarters in which Oklahoma City ran Orlando's summer league ragged, taking an 81-50 advantage in an eventual 100-77 win, the answer was obvious. Durant has too much fun being out on the floor to keep him off it. "If he wasn't playing basketball here, he'd be playing somewhere else,” said general manager Sam Presti, who was aware that reigning Rookies of the year tend not to bother with summer league play. "It's not like we're forcing him. With Kevin, if there's a ball bouncing, it's a good bet he'll find his way into the game.” Presti found that out the hard way this summer. During his meeting with Durant after the end of the regular season in April, he stressed the importance of getting rest after his first full run as a professional. Within a week, he was getting reports from all over the country that Durant was working out and playing pickup ball. One day, he was back in his native Maryland competing against friends, the next on Georgetown's campus working out with teammate Jeff Green. On July 4, while most people were scouting out fireworks, Presti found himself in Austin, watching Durant work out as if the regular season were weeks away instead of months away. Durant was in two-a-day mode, waking at 6:30 to lift weights, then shooting around in the afternoon. Durant has a problem: He's a workaholic. From Oklahoma City's perspective, when you're watching a team being built from the ground up, it's a good problem to have. "I just can't come to the gym and sit on the sidelines,” Durant admitted. "It was a bonehead move on my part not to bring my shoes.” That problem was easily rectified. Durant received his size 18s early Tuesday and was ready to go once tip-off began, joining the starting lineup. Durant had gotten his way. In truth, everyone affiliated with the OKC TBDs were anxious to see what their core is going to look like and didn't want to wait simply because conventional wisdom dictated that they should. Durant was here. He was willing. As a result, management was willing to gamble on Durant avoiding a freak injury that would've opened the door to second-guessing. The thought process was that since he's been out there working in obscure practice gyms against competition trying to make their name against him, it couldn't hurt to have him come out and do it one more time against an Orlando roster featuring only two players likely to be on the Magic's roster, center Marcin Gortat and rookie Courtney Lee. Durant made it through three quarters without incident despite going all out, spinning in and out of traffic in the lane, closing out fiercely on the defensive end, finishing up with 22 points in 27 minutes. "Everything in my game, I'm trying to fine tune,” said Durant. "Next year, I just want to come out and try to be a better player, try to be better defensively and do whatever I can to help my team win. I just wanted to go out and play with my new teammates and get acquainted with them as much as possible.” Durant's debut was most impressive due to his efficiency and the way teammates fed off him. Although Scott Brooks and the coaching staff ran a lot of isolation for him, he took only 10 shots. Green and Russell Westbrook combined for 47 points on 60 percent shooting (15-for-25), feeding off him nicely. Westbrook hit six of his first seven shots, mercilessly asserting his athletic edge over Orlando's Kevin Kruger to get to the rim any time he wanted. As impressive as his 8-for-10 shooting clip was, Westbrook was even more dominant defensively, often acting as a one-man press while disrupting Orlando from getting into its offensive sets. Green, given the go-to role without Durant available in the opener, remained assertive, doing a nice job of recognizing mismatches. His post game was solid and he moved brilliantly without the ball in his hands, drawing 15 free throws and taking advantage of the extra attention Durant received. There's no encore set in stone for Durant despite his desire to continue participating. "I might play Thursday or Friday,” Durant replied when asked if his showing would be a one-and-done. "I don't think they want me to play too much.”
Kevin Durant, left, drives past the Magic's Kevin Kruger during Summer League action on Tuesday in Orlando, Fla. By Jacob Langston, Orlando Sentinel OKLAHOMA CITY 100, ORLANDO 77 Orlando…15181727 — 77 Oklahoma City…29223019 — 100 Orlando — Courtney Lee 27, James Augustine 10, Marcin Gortat 10, Derrick Byers 7, Antywane Robinson 7, Cliff Hammonds 5, D'or Fischer 4, Kevin Kruger 3, Justin Reed 2, Russell Carter 2. OKC — Jeff Green 28, Kevin Durant 22, Russell Westbrook 19, Rhonald Dupree 9, Justin Williams 6, D.J. White 5, Mykal Riley 4, Nick Lewis 3, Devin Green 2, Ronell Taylor 2.