Even with Memphis in the rear-view, Kevin Durant didn’t mind looking back.
A day before opening another challenging series against the Los Angeles Clippers, Durant complimented the Grizzlies, saying their ability to push OKC to the brink will help him and the Thunder in their upcoming tests.
Q: What’s most important for the short turnaround?
A: “Try not to be a happy team. We won the first series, which was our toughest series we’ve ever been through. But just getting prepared for a great Clippers team coming in here.”
You called Memphis the toughest series you’ve ever faced. Does that include the losses in previous years?
“Yeah. Because we were expected to win, for one. And playing so well in Game 1 and then losing two at home, losing Game 5 when the series is tied, I don’t think we’ve ever done that before, especially on our home floor. Then going to Memphis, expected to lose that and our season was gonna be over. Then so much other stuff started to pop up for us. But we just, all we worried about was the guys in this building and we stood together and stood tall. Can’t ever count us out or keep us down, that’s how we looked at it. That’s team, that’s a well-coached team that plays together and do what they do. They made it tough on us and we learned a lot.”
How does that help going into the next round?
“It definitely built us up as a team. Each round is different, each game is different, each possession is different. But it helped us as an overall group, built character. Our backs were against the wall, everybody counted us out when we went to Memphis, saying we were going to lose. We caught a little break with Zach Randolph not playing in Game 7, but they had a chance to put us away in Game 6. We fought and we showed that resiliency.”
You talked about losing yourself in the game and playing for the joy of it. Do you feel like you’ve hit the reset button and got back to that?
“Most definitely. It’s a game. It’s important, we want to win championships, get to the top of that mountain. But it’s a game. You put too much pressure on yourself, you take that fun and joy out of it. I never want to do that no matter the circumstances. Just want to keep the game pure...Easier said than done, but if I stay conscious of it, I can do it.”