NBA Finals: The truth about Kevin Durant's mid-game scoring droughts

THUNDER-HEAT -- Lately, those stretches when fans are wondering "Where's Kevin?" have actually proven to be the times when Oklahoma City's offense is functioning as intended.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: June 13, 2012

“Those two (Durant and Westbrook) have an amazing ability to get where they want to get and shoot over the defense. But they also have done a very good job of finding open looks for other guys. It's never been about one or two guys. It's always been how we can score and how we can stop them from scoring.”

All year, the Thunder has found success when three to four players have at least 10 points and when six or seven players attempt at least five shots. Ball movement, basically, has been the basis for blowouts.

In those middle two quarters of Game 1, the Thunder was executing despite Durant's shot tally. After being outscored 29-22 in a first quarter in which Durant led all players with six shot attempts, the Thunder outscored the Heat 52-44 in the second and third periods.

All eight Thunder players that logged more than three minutes scored in those quarters. Oklahoma City also had 10 assists on 19 made field goals in those middle two quarters.

“It should be more about how we're playing,” Collison said. “If the ball's moving, different guys are going to get shots. If we try to force-feed Kevin and he's in bad places, it's not good for us, either.

“Obviously, Kevin's the best scorer in the league for the last three years so we want to get him shots. But if he's not getting shots, I think we need to look at how we're executing. We can't just say we're going to force-feed Kevin and make him make plays because that's not fair to Kevin either.”

But when the first three quarters are spent making everyone a part of the attack, defenses no longer can focus solely on Durant in the fourth. And by then, as we saw Tuesday, Durant still has enough energy to put together one of his performances that have earned him the title of King Closer.

“The game always ends up the best players are always going to get the most shots, and that's always been the case since the game started and it's not going to change,” Brooks said. “But just because you're the best player doesn't mean you always have to have the shot.”


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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