OKC Thunder: Small defenders have been troublesome for Kevin Durant

What we witnessed Sunday was nothing new. It’s an issue that dates back to at least the 2011 playoffs and one that has, at times, managed to disrupt the entire Thunder offense.
by Darnell Mayberry Modified: May 12, 2014 at 11:41 pm •  Published: May 12, 2014

The Thunder compounded the problem by force-feeding Durant at the high post. And while seemingly set on proving that Paul couldn’t cover Durant, the Thunder saw its offense bog down and be forced to play deep into the shot clock on multiple trips.

“We got to move (the ball),” Durant said. “We can’t sit there and just try to force it to me. Because that’s what they want. They want those guys to front and get up under me and once they pass it they’re coming for a double team and we got to pass out.”

Brooks accepted a portion of the blame in that regard.

“I can do a better job of some of our play-calling,” he said. “We can do a better job of setting screens…We have to do a better job of being able to react to the double teams, being able to capitalize on their decisions to double team Kevin or Russell (Westbrook) 17 or 18 feet out.”

That goes back to Durant.

On Sunday, he was either slow to recognize where the double team was coming from or sloppy with passes when secondary defenders did come. It resulted in passes that were picked off.

But Durant on Monday insinuated that he was being fouled on his turnovers.

“Mostly yesterday every time I passed the ball it’s a guy on my arm,” Durant said. “I’m 6-9. There’s no way a 6-2, 6-footer is going to get the ball. So you do the math.”

Brooks seemed to hint the same after the game when he responded to a question about why Durant wasn’t able to make Paul and the Clippers pay more by saying, “It was physical out there, I’ll just say that. It was physical.”

Still, there’s enough of a sample size with smaller defenders on Durant to know by now that what occurred Sunday wasn’t simply a coincidence.

Durant and the Thunder must concoct a remedy soon.

“We got to punish them for it,” said Thunder guard Reggie Jackson. “Size difference. Everybody sees it. Got to find ways to get him the ball easier. And if they double, just make them pay.”

by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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