According to a blog on ESPNLosAngeles.com, Clippers reserve guard Nick Young became inspired late in the first quarter of Monday night's 92-77 victory against the Thunder at Staples Center, claiming two-time scoring champ Kevin Durant baited him with “You can't guard me. You can't guard me.”
Young scored five points in a span of 36 seconds late in the first period and finished with 19 points in 21 minutes on 7-for-10 shooting from the field, including 3 for 4 from 3-point range.
Durant finished with 24 points, shot 7 for 18 overall and went just 1 for 8 from the field in the second half, including 0 for 5 from 3-point range.
“I guess he heard in the papers that I was locking him up,” Young said of defending Durant. “So that kind of motivated me.”
Trouble is, Durant insists he never said anything to Young.
“I didn't say anything. I didn't say a word to Nick. I was talking to Mo Williams,” said Durant, who received a double-technical along with Williams with 1:50 left before halftime.
Durant's response was not quoted in the blog.
Asked if he said “You can't guard me” to Young, Durant smiled in disbelief and said, “Nah, I didn't say that. I guess he's hearing things.”
As part of the Make-A-Wish Foundation event, Putnam City North senior golfer Lorelei Decker will serve as the Thunder's coach for a day next Tuesday when OKC hosts the Sacramento Kings.
The 17-year-old Decker was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma in late January. Survival rate for Decker's type of cancer is 80 percent or better, and the family has been encouraged by recent blood tests.
“It hasn't crossed my mind that I won't beat it,” Decker said. “I'm young and healthy. I believe in myself and my doctors and I believe in the power of prayer — and I have a lot of prayer.”
BY THE NUMBERS
The Thunder is:
5-5 — in April
11-5 — in March
28-7 — in December, January and February
8-4 — on Wednesdays
17-0 — when shooting 50-plus percent from the field
16-0 — when opponent scores less than 90 points
42-15 — when opponent shoots less than 50 percent
14-7 — on the road against Western Conference teams
13-1 — with 10-plus steals
20-5 — with more assists than opponents
The Thunder has won five straight overall against the Suns and three straight at US Airways Center. However, dating back to Seattle days, the franchise is just 22-77 overall at Phoenix. … The Thunder is 23-10 on one day's rest this season. … The Suns beat visiting Portland 125-107 on Monday for their fourth victory on the last six starts. … Phoenix plays four of its remaining five games at home. ... The Suns are 7-3 in April, tied for the most wins of any Western Conference team this month.
After Wednesday night's game in Phoenix, the Thunder continues its five-game road trip with a Friday game at 9 p.m. in Sacramento and a 2:30 p.m. game in Los Angeles against the Lakers. OKC then closes out the regular season with back-to-back home games against Sacramento on Tuesday and Denver next Wednesday, both at 7 p.m.
Thunder reserve Nick Collison on what to take from Monday's horrendous second half against the Clippers: “I think you always have to take inventory of where you're at as a team and what you can do better. There's going to be a lot of things we're going to watch the tape and feel like we need to do better at. The good thing is it doesn't mean we can't (figure it out) by next game. That's what our outlook is. You have to look at it and make changes and change how we play because it obviously wasn't good enough tonight. First half was solid, and then in the second half we didn't do anything well.”