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OKC Thunder: Kevin Durant downplays Tony Allen's defense

by Darnell Mayberry Published: April 22, 2014

For the second straight day, Kevin Durant grew a tad testy while fielding questions about Grizzlies guard Tony Allen’s defense.

A query about what makes Allen’s defense on him more effective than other players was the second question asked of Durant following Tuesday’s practice. Durant paused several moments before answering, and before he finally parted his lips to speak he laughed at the question.

“He’s good,” Durant said. “He’s good at dodging screens. He’s physical. But everybody plays the same way with me.”

Later in his six-minute interview session, Durant was asked why he doesn’t post up more. His response fell somewhere between agitated and defensive.

“Being a taller guy, when these shorter guys guard you, it’s a little tougher because they’re lower to the ground,” Durant said. “They’re quicker. But nobody’s just going to let me sit in the post. They’re going to put two guys on me, one on the backside and one sitting in my lap. So I just got to move around more.”

This is where Durant grew defensive.

“It’s not like I’m just getting totally locked down,” he continued. “But he’s making it tough. It’s the playoffs. Every possession’s going to be tough no matter who we’re playing. But it’s not like I’m just non-existent. I don’t know what you guys have been watching. But he’s making me work, just like everybody else would.”

Durant is averaging 34.5 points, 9.5 rebounds and 5.5 assists in the first two games against Memphis. He’s shooting 47.2 percent from the field and 42.1 percent from 3-point range.

But according to ESPN Stats & Information, Durant is shooting just 36 percent in this series when guarded by Allen. Against all other defenders, Durant is shooting 56 percent. Durant was 4-for-11 against Allen in Game 2.

THUNDER EXPECTS JACKSON TO REBOUND

Of all the things that got flipped from Game 1 to Game 2, the performance of guard Reggie Jackson was among the most drastic.

Jackson scored nine points with eight rebounds, four assists and no turnovers in Game 1. He was held to two points on 0-for-5 shooting with three rebounds, two assists and two turnovers in Game 2. Jackson also was a part of an ineffective defensive effort that allowed Grizzlies backup point guard Beno Udrih to score 14 points on 6-for-8 shooting in 14 minutes.

Durant said Jackson must stay confident and focus on defense first, but also push the tempo and be aggressive offensively.

“One of the things Reggie’s done all year is he’s played well,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. “And he’s always come back from a game he doesn’t play well with a better game. He missed some shots that he has made a lot of times this season, and I expect Thursday night he comes back and steps up and plays aggressive basketball and looks for opportunities at the rim and opportunities to get his guys in rhythm to get good shots also.”

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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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