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Kevin Durant misses potential game-winner as Thunder falls to Houston Rockets

In his career, Thunder star Kevin Durant has hit one game-winner, which came during his rookie season against Atlanta.
by Darnell Mayberry Modified: November 29, 2010 at 1:11 pm •  Published: November 28, 2010

HOUSTON — While most of his teammates had already dressed and darted for the team bus, Nick Collison sat at his locker with the bottom half of his uniform still on and his left foot soaking in a yellow bucket of ice. Every few seconds, the Thunder’s power forward shook his head ever so slightly as he stared into the distance.

He couldn’t stop his mind from mulling over the point-blank layup he missed midway through the second quarter.

Across the visitor’s locker room inside the Toyota Center, Jeff Green sullenly stated his own shame over the two offensive rebounds he blamed himself for allowing Houston to grab inside the final five minutes.

Both wondered what if Sunday night.

But neither could empathize with what Kevin Durant was feeling.

Durant short-armed a fadeaway 20-footer from the right wing as time expired that allowed Houston to hang on to a 99-98 win over the Thunder. After the would be game-winner bounced off the front of the rim and chipped another part of the iron before falling harmlessly to the floor, Durant leapt twice and pumped his fist in disbelief.

“It’s frustrating, man,” Durant said of his missed game-winner. “I’ve been working so hard on that only to come up short time after time. But I got to keep being positive, keep believing and keep working. Hopefully it’ll start to change. I’ve had one in four years.”

Durant’s lone game-winner came as a rookie at Atlanta on Nov. 16 — 10 games into his professional career. Sunday’s game was Durant’s 251st.

“Kevin is going to make a lot of those shots in his career,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. “The shot was on line. It was just a little short.”

For the first time this season, the Thunder came up short. After heading to Houston on the heels of a gutsy four-point overtime win at Indiana on Friday night, the Thunder (11-6) dropped its first game when the margin is eight points or fewer. The Thunder had been 8-0 in those games, which only added to the sting of this loss for players like Collison and Green, who both felt just a tad more effort could have altered Sunday’s result.

But, really, the entire Thunder roster can look back on this one and question the effort.

Oklahoma City watched a short-handed Houston team outwork and outhustle it throughout the game’s first 24 minutes.

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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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