Clutch is making the last 10 seconds relevant in the first place. In those final 31/2 minutes, which began with Denver leading 91-82, Durant made five of six shots and all three of his foul shots.
So much for George Karl's quest to prove that go-to guys aren't needed. The Denver coach put up a good fight, getting the Nuggets this far after superstar Carmelo Anthony forced a trade to the Knickerbockers, and who knows, maybe some day Karl will be proven right.
But not this day. Not when Durant almost by himself beat a well-rounded Nugget team that had five double-digit scorers ranging from 11 to 15 points but scored only one basket in the final 41/2 minutes, that on a tip-in, as the pressure mounted and the Thunder defense grew fangs.
“A great player got hot,” Karl said. “It's always tough to close it out in a tough building with a player playing as well as Durant was playing.”
Tough to beat a team that has a superstar who most definitely is Mister Clutch.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.Tramel: Quite a night for the OKC crowd