OKC Thunder notebook: Thunder back on the court

By John Rohde, Staff Writer, jrohde@opubco.com Published: May 8, 2012
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ALL-AROUND EFFORT

In the process of winning his third straight NBA scoring title (28.0), Durant was all but ignored in the fact he also led the Thunder in rebounding (8.0), was second in blocks (1.17) and third in assists (3.5).

During OKC's 13-point, fourth-quarter comeback against the Mavericks in Game 4, Durant had nine points, six rebounds and one block in the final 9:54 of the game. Durant finished with 24 points and 11 rebounds, his seventh double-double in the playoffs the last two seasons.

“Coach relies on me a lot to be a rebounder and every time we got to timeout he was always screaming at me to rebound, rebound, rebound,” Durant said. “Perk is one of our better rebounders along with Serge (Ibaka) and they do a great job. I was just trying to fill a void and was able to get my hands on a few.”

HARD ON HARDEN

Durant and Russell Westbrook aren't the only Thunder players to face multiple defenses. Harden has experienced an array of defenses that try to prevent him from constantly penetrating.

“I saw a lot of different defenses this past year, with trapping and things like that,” Harden said. “You just have to learn how to make your teammates better. Being a playmaker, you've got some people guarding you. Obviously, somebody's open, so just find that open person.”

In addition to having a team-high 29 points in Game 4, Harden also had five assists, plus three steals and a block.

LOVE THE BEARD

A lock for Sixth Man of the Year, Harden said he was surprised at the outpouring of support from fans when he suffered a concussion after getting elbowed by the Lakers' Metta World Peace on April 22.

More love came Harden's way after he erupted for 15 fourth-quarter points in Saturday's series-clinching victory over Dallas at American Airlines Center.

“A lot of 'Fear the Beard' fans or Harden fans or whatever you want to call it,” Harden said with a smile. “The support that I have and this team has is just phenomenal, especially here in the city. It's just amazing. We love it. That's what motivates us to want to work hard every single day. We love the fans.”



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