OKC Thunder: Pride still matters in Thunder camp

Kevin Durant was asked Monday if Game 3 was about pride. He said no, but the more he talked, the more you realized that indeed motivated the Thunder.
by Berry Tramel Published: May 26, 2014

Kevin Durant was asked Monday if Game 3 was about pride. He said no, but the more he talked, the more you realized that indeed motivated the Thunder.

“We just wanted to win, man,” Durant said. “That's all we wanted to do was win, take it a possession at a time. Guys don't take too well to being — felt like we were laughed at. That's how it felt. Everybody was just joking and laughing at us, saying we quit, saying we're going to lose, we're going to get swept.

“We take that to heart. I'm not saying that the series is over with now because we won a game, but we definitely have a lot of pride here. We want to take the challenge. This is the best challenge we have, so we've got to take it head on.”

BUTLER BELIEVED IN SERGE

Thunder newcomer Caron Butler knows Serge Ibaka’s back story – growing up in war-torn Congo – and that in part was a reason Butler believed Ibaka would return from a calf strain sooner than advertised.

“That’s one of the main reasons when I kept getting asked repeatedly, ‘Do you think Serge is going to come back? Is he out for the playoffs?’ and I was just like, ‘I think he'll be back,’” Butler said. “In my head and in my heart, I just felt that way the whole time just because of what he's come from, and he's been resilient and been able to overcome any type of adversity off the court. So this little thing right here with an injury, I was just like, if it's a will, it's a way, and he has a lot of will, so he's going to be out there.”

Ibaka quizzed Butler about his injury history.

“He was just asking me, ‘How did you feel? I just want to be able to give something,’” Butler said. “And I was just like, ‘Man, just you being out there is going to give a ton. The crowd is going to give us that lift that we need. Everyone is going to be engaged, and it's just going to make your brothers just work that much harder out there on the court, seeing you out there. We definitely did that, and he gave us more than a lift.”

PARKER BLAMES HIMSELF

Multiple Spurs said point guard Tony Parker was hard on himself after a Game 3 in which he made just four of 13 shots and had as many turnovers (four) as assists.

“I take a lot of responsibility,” Parker said. “That’s my job on this team, to get everything going. That’s why I took it hard last night, because I felt like I didn’t play well.”

THUNDER AGGRESSIVE

The Thunder in the third quarter of Game 3 made just four of 17 shots. But the Thunder attempted 22 foul shots, making 18. The Spurs did not attempt a foul shot in that period.

“That’ll kill you every time,” said San Antonio’s Tim Duncan. “Those are easy points, especially for them, a team that kind of lives on the free-throw line, and something that we’ve done a great job of kind of keeping them off of.”


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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