Afterward, a dejected Durant sat at his locker searching for how to explain what’s doomed the Thunder.
“I can’t even explain that,” he said when asked how this team fixes its suddenly shaky defense.
The final 12 minutes overshadowed an otherwise marvelous night from Durant and Russell Westbrook, who enjoyed his best performance since returning from knee surgery.
Durant scored a team-high 28 points on 10-for-16 shooting with 10 rebounds and nine assists. He even atoned for his uncharacteristic outburst, apologizing to the front row fans he unintentionally splashed.
“I mean sometimes, we all handle situations differently,” said Derek Fisher. “I know Kevin did reach out and at least acknowledge to the people in the first row there that he was sorry for spilling the water and the Gatorade on them. I don’t think there’s any question we care about what’s happening, and obviously Kevin cares about what’s happening. You don’t want to do things that are necessarily out of character or that look bad for you or your team. But at the same time, I don’t think any of us mind the passion that sometimes is necessary for people to see.”
Oddly enough, the temperamental Westbrook was the one who effectively communicated his emotions after the game. He shot down all talk of how his 24-point, nine-assist night was in any way a silver lining. He refused to even concede that it was a step in the right direction.
“We lost,” he said. “No matter how I play; I could have 50 points. If we lose it don’t matter. This league is all about wins, man. It ain’t about individual performances. Every night you want to come out and win games. Based on winning games, you win the championship. That’s what you want to do.”