The front-row fan hollered at the face of the franchise. "Durant!” Waiting for play to resume after a timeout, Kevin Durant turned and steeled his eyes on the Ford Center faithful. "Kick some ... ” Hold it, buster! This is a family newspaper. We can’t print what the fan said, but we can give you a hint. It’s another word for derriere that rhymes with pass. You get the gist. Perhaps Durant didn’t. On a night that Oklahoma City will long count as glorious, Durant had a game that was anything but. He had an utterly forgettable first half, missing every shot he attempted, scoring no points, rolling up fouls and turnovers but not much else. His woeful start helped sink the Thunder into a halftime hole from which it never recovered. Milwaukee 98, Oklahoma City 87. This was not how this night was supposed to go. Oklahoma City was supposed to usher in the NBA, and the Thunder was supposed to win the game. This was not the happy beginning with the even happier ending. Not for Oklahoma City. Not for the Thunder. Certainly not for Durant. "It felt good to me,” he said of his first-half stroke that failed to connect. "I’ve just got to be more prepared next game and be more focused at knocking those shots down.” Durant finally scored with 11:13 left in the third quarter. He finished with 12 points but needed 14 shots to get there. His struggle mirrored his team’s. "It’s difficult when you feel like you’re running in sand,” Thunder coach P.J. Carlesimo said. "Guys are missing shots they normally make.” That hurts no matter who’s missing, but when it’s Durant struggling to find the bottom of the basket, the pain is worse. It’s felt on the scoreboard and in the psyche. "I think everybody was pulling for Kevin,” Thunder veteran Desmond Mason said. "Obviously, Kevin is the guy. He’s the guy who’s going to take the bulk of the shots. He’s the go-to guy on this team.” If the preseason and the season opener proved anything it’s that this team has a variety of guys who can contribute. Three reserves scored in double figures Wednesday, including Chris Wilcox’s team-high 15 points. That’s a good sign for the Thunder. Ditto for the late-game comeback. The Thunder made a game of it, nearly cutting the Bucks’ lead to single digits in the fourth quarter despite Durant’s struggles. Still, this bunch needs its star to shine. Durant is an amazing talent, but sometimes, he disappears. He’ll have stretches where you have to look around and make sure he’s still on the court. He did it during his one and only season at Texas. He does it still. That needs to change. Granted, the season is only a few hours old. This is only one night, only one game. This is no reason to sound the alarm or hit the panic button. Still, we can already see how important Durant is. The Thunder has several capable sidekicks, but it has to have its superhero if it wants to win games. He must be better. He will be better. He will hit his shots. He will spark his team. He will kick some derriere. Jenni Carlson: 475-3314. Jenni Carlson can be heard Monday-Friday from 3-6 p.m. on KEBC-AM 1340.