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NBA Finals: Kevin Durant's fouls are troubling for Thunder

Spending time on the bench, while LeBron James remains in the game, does not bode well for Oklahoma City.
by Berry Tramel Published: June 18, 2012

Better for Durant not to force Brooks to make such a decision. Better for Durant to play all 48 minutes, like he did against the Spurs in Game 6. Better for Durant to play more minutes than LeBron plays, which has yet to happen in this series.

Heck, Durant has played three less minutes than Miami's Dwyane Wade and only five more minutes than the Heat's ancient Shane Battier.

LeBron says he's not going at Durant in particular, but Durant found foul trouble only twice all season before the Finals and now has found it two straight games.

Miami coach Erik Spoelstra calls that a “residual benefit” of the way the Heat, in particular LeBron, plays. Sometimes, LeBron just puts his head down and goes.

“When he attacks, he has the ability to draw sometimes upwards of double-digit fouls on the opponent,” Spoelstra said.

Does that mean the Thunder could switch assignments? Move Thabo Sefolosha over to guard LeBron, with Russell Westbrook taking Wade and Durant settling for Mario Chalmers? Seems like that could shift the foul-trouble risk to Westbrook, but it's not like Durant has been clamping down on LeBron, who is averaging 30.3 points a game in the series.

“LeBron is a tough guy to guard,” Durant said. “Everybody knows it. But I'm going to play my hardest and try and play smarter. A few of them, I didn't think were fouls. But that's how the cards are dealt. I've just got to deal with it.

“I've never been a guy that complains about it or gets mad at a ref for making a call, so I've just got to play through it and be myself, and whatever happens happens.”

If foul trouble keeps happening, the Thunder will go under.

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at btramel@opubco.com. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.

 

by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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