For the second straight day, Kevin Durant grew a tad testy while fielding questions about Grizzlies guard Tony Allen’s defense.
A query about what makes Allen’s defense on him more effective than other players was the second question asked of Durant following Tuesday’s practice. Durant paused several moments before answering, and before he finally parted his lips to speak he laughed at the question.
“He’s good,” Durant said. “He’s good at dodging screens. He’s physical. But everybody plays the same way with me.”
Later in his six-minute interview session, Durant was asked why he doesn’t post up more. His response fell somewhere between agitated and defensive.
“Being a taller guy, when these shorter guys guard you, it’s a little tougher because they’re lower to the ground,” Durant said. “They’re quicker. But nobody’s just going to let me sit in the post. They’re going to put two guys on me, one on the backside and one sitting in my lap. So I just got to move around more.”
This is where Durant grew defensive.
“It’s not like I’m just getting totally locked down,” he continued. “But he’s making it tough. It’s the playoffs. Every possession’s going to be tough no matter who we’re playing. But it’s not like I’m just non-existent. I don’t know what you guys have been watching. But he’s making me work, just like everybody else would.”
Durant is averaging 34.5 points, 9.5 rebounds and 5.5 assists in the first two games against Memphis. He’s shooting 47.2 percent from the field and 42.1 percent from 3-point range.
But according to ESPN Stats & Information, Durant is shooting just 36 percent in this series when guarded by Allen. Against all other defenders, Durant is shooting 56 percent. Durant was 4-for-11 against Allen in Game 2.
THUNDER EXPECTS JACKSON TO REBOUND
Of all the things that got flipped from Game 1 to Game 2, the performance of guard Reggie Jackson was among the most drastic.
Jackson scored nine points with eight rebounds, four assists and no turnovers in Game 1. He was held to two points on 0-for-5 shooting with three rebounds, two assists and two turnovers in Game 2. Jackson also was a part of an ineffective defensive effort that allowed Grizzlies backup point guard Beno Udrih to score 14 points on 6-for-8 shooting in 14 minutes.
Durant said Jackson must stay confident and focus on defense first, but also push the tempo and be aggressive offensively.
“One of the things Reggie’s done all year is he’s played well,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. “And he’s always come back from a game he doesn’t play well with a better game. He missed some shots that he has made a lot of times this season, and I expect Thursday night he comes back and steps up and plays aggressive basketball and looks for opportunities at the rim and opportunities to get his guys in rhythm to get good shots also.”
GAME 2 LOSS LEADS TO TIME IN ‘TRUTH BOX’
The Thunder had another lengthy practice session Tuesday, but the bulk of the team’s time wasn’t spent on the court. It was again spent in the film room.
Much of the focus, according to Durant, was on pick-and-roll coverage, moving the basketball and moving without the ball.
“I think our guys did a good job in our film session of locking in,” Brooks said. “Had great dialogue. And we focused on the little things that we feel are important, things that we didn’t do as well as we would have liked and things that we will have time (Wednesday) to practice going into the next game.”
Brooks stressed to his team the need for having more of a sense of urgency in Game 3.
“Sometimes you don’t even really need to say too much because it’s right there in front of your face. It’s called the ‘truth box,’” said Kendrick Perkins.
NUMBERS DON’T LIE?
Durant and Russell Westbrook in Game 2 combined to attempt 19 3-pointers, continuing a confusing trend that began late in the regular season of the All-Star duo jacking numerous shots from long distance.
“That’s probably a few too many for both,” Brooks said.
The Thunder took 30 3-pointers Monday and made nine. OKC fell to 3-10 this season when attempting 30 or more 3-pointers. The team is 57-14 when it attempts fewer than 30 3-pointers.
“We took a few too many quick shots,” Brooks said. “Quick is not good unless it’s in the paint or they’re open 3s. But those are areas that we’ve talked about and we hope to do much better with.”
Allen on how Memphis control the tempo in Game 2: “I don’t know too much about the offensive end, but I can tell you that we just wanted to execute and hold our hats on the defensive end.”
After holding a practice session Wednesday morning in Oklahoma City, the Thunder will travel to Memphis on Wednesday afternoon for Games 3 and 4. … With nine blocked shots, Thunder forward Serge Ibaka has more blocks through the first two games of the series than the Grizzlies as a team (seven). … Memphis has turned the ball over just 15 times through two games. … Grizzlies center Marc Gasol has scored 32 points on 34 shots in the first two games of the series. … Memphis has won 14 straight games at home.