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OKC Thunder notebook: NBA commissioner Adam Silver says Kevin Durant 'embodies what this league is all about'

by Berry Tramel and Jenni Carlson and Anthony Slater Published: May 20, 2014


photo - Oklahoma City Thunder's Kevin Durant poses for a photo with the MVP trophy during a news conference announcing  Durant as the winner of the 2013-14 Kia NBA Basketball Most Value Player Award in Oklahoma City, Okla. on Tuesday, May 6, 2014. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma City Thunder's Kevin Durant poses for a photo with the MVP trophy during a news conference announcing Durant as the winner of the 2013-14 Kia NBA Basketball Most Value Player Award in Oklahoma City, Okla. on Tuesday, May 6, 2014. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman

Speaking before the NBA Draft Lottery on Tuesday night, commissioner Adam Silver was peppered with some Donald Sterling questions.

But in maintaining his stern approach toward the disgraced Clippers owner, Silver also paid Thunder star Kevin Durant a supreme compliment.

“Kevin Durant, as our Most Valuable Player, embodies what this league is all about,” Silver said. “Mr. Sterling doesn’t."

FREE-THROW ADVANTAGE

One of the few areas where the Thunder had the advantage over the Spurs in Game 1 was the free-throw line.

Oklahoma City got to the line more, shooting 23 free throws to San Antonio’s 17. The Thunder also shot a better percentage, 82.6 percent to the Spurs’ 76.5.

“We’ve got to attack more,” Durant said. “Offensively, we’ve got to continue to trust with the pass, move our bodies and be aggressive.”

MORE PHYSICALITY?

The Spurs are all about precision and execution on offense.

And in Game 1 against the Thunder, all of that worked to perfection. The Spurs scored 122 points, shot 57.5 percent and scored 66 points in the paint.

Could physicality be the answer against the finesse?

“We want to make it hard for them to make all their cuts and their passes,” Thunder forward Nick Collison said. “They’re really good when they’re running through their offense and the ball is flying around and guys are wide open. We want to be able to throw their timing off a little bit.

“Some of that is physicality, but a lot of it is getting back and starting playing at the beginning of the possession instead of being back on our heels and letting them run where they want to run.”

DEFENSE TO OFFENSE

The Thunder offense struggled early in Game 1.

So did the defense.

Did the difficulties on the offensive end bleed over into the defense? The Thunder hit only two of its first 10 shots, while the Spurs nailed nine of their first 14 as they built an 11-point lead midway through the first quarter.

“I think you have to be able to defend regardless of whether you’re making shots or not,” Thunder veteran Derek Fisher said, “but at the same time, it helps if the ball is going in the basket to be able to get your defense back, set, to be confident.”

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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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by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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by Anthony Slater
Thunder Beat Writer
Anthony Slater started on the Thunder beat in the summer of 2013, joining after two years as NewsOK.com's lead sports blogger and web editor. A native Californian, Slater attended Sonoma State for two years before transferring to Oklahoma State in...
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