TORONTO — Lost in the non-stop national nitpicking of Kevin Durant’s defense is another player whose performance on the defensive end could be even more problematic for the Oklahoma City Thunder. That player is Jeff Green, who has had more than his share of highs and lows this season. But it’s one recent four-game stretch in particular that raises the question of whether his defense could eventually pose a problem in the postseason. In consecutive games against Denver, the Los Angeles Clippers, Sacramento and New Orleans, Green struggled to defend Carmelo Anthony, Craig Smith, Carl Landry and David West. At the time, Green’s performance could be overlooked because the Thunder went 3-1 in those games and had won 12 of 15. But with the stakes soaring higher as the season winds to an end, it seems Green’s efforts will be the key to the Thunder’s fate from here out and into the postseason. Oklahoma City has built its season on defense, and the next chance for Green to prove he can put the clamps on a premier frontcourt player comes tonight when the Thunder takes on Toronto at 6 inside Air Canada Centre. "Our other four guys on the floor have to help him out because you can’t guard a guy one-on-one in this league,” said Durant. "Nobody can. You might be able to do it for a couple of possessions, but you can’t do it every night, especially great players like the guys he’s guarding.” Durant’s analysis of the situation echoes the sentiments of Thunder coach Scott Brooks, who, rather than criticizing Green, chose to condemn the team’s help. "I tell Jeff like I tell the other guys, it’s our defense that’s getting scored on,” Brooks said. "One of the strengths of our team defensively is that when we see a problem we make the adjustment.” Green, though, is the only one who isn’t making excuses. He knows the Thunder likely wouldn’t have gotten blown out of Denver had Anthony not scored 15 of his game-high 30 points against him in the opening quarter. Two nights later, Smith, a role-playing reserve for the Clippers, had 19 points and seven rebounds off the bench. Two nights after that, Landry dumped in 20 points on 9-for-13 shooting to go with eight rebounds for the Kings. And on March 10, the Hornets’ West started the game 6-for-6 against Green before finishing with a game-high 33 points. "It’s just me putting myself in bad positions and not being physically ready,” said Green, refusing to concede any opposing player was stronger, bigger or better. "You have to learn from it. You can’t look back on it too much. You have to take what happened in those games and move on and just take the positives from it.” Green figures to be the most significant player because the Thunder’s frontcourt play has long been the team’s glaring and greatest deficiency — even though the combined play of Green, Nenad Krstic, Nick Collison and Serge Ibaka has performed better than expected this season. When the playoffs roll around, the Thunder is likely to be matched up against Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki, Denver’s Anthony and perhaps Kenyon Martin if healthy or Utah’s Carlos Boozer, who had 18 points and 11 rebounds against the Thunder on Sunday. "All of our guys have to get better,” Brooks said. "I challenge them every day...Man-to-man is always the number one part of any team’s defense. You’ve got to be able to stop the ball and control the ball. That’s the hardest things to do in this league because there are some talented guys, some gifted and skilled players. "(Jeff) has improved a lot in his three years now. He’s a young talented player that’s going to get better every year. He works hard, and he’s going to improve.” Text "OKTHUNDER” to 65360 for your chance to win an OKC Thunder Fan Prize Pack. NewsOK OKC Thunder news text alerts sponsored by Totally Tickets.