“The great players, you can play great defense and he can have numbers,” Jackson said. “It's just a question of making him work. He hit some tough shots, some incredible shots. Give him credit.”
Durant now is averaging a career high 30.6 points a game this season. He was asked to carry a heavier load when Russell Westbrook underwent another surgery just after Christmas, and Durant has responded. He's averaged 36.8 points the last five games.
What can a defense do when Durant gets in a zone like Friday night?
“Not much,” Thunder coach Scotty Brooks said. “Not much. You can watch and guard and hope that he misses. He was making some tough shots. They were trying to make him miss and he was making tough shots. Just like Curry.”
Curry is a wondrous talent himself but not the total offensive package that is Durant. Durant also scored on drives, on penetrating jumpers and on 11-of-13 foul shooting.
And that incredible 75-second span when Durant launched three arching 3-pointers that were on the mark and slew the Warriors. The Thunder lead went from 110-101 to 119-104, and not even a Curry/Thompson rally could have saved Golden State.
In the span of two games, the light has brightened on the Thunder. An epic defensive performance Thursday night in Houston (19 second-half points for the Rockets), followed by a reminder that Earth's greatest offensive basketball player carries the Thunder flag while Westbrook convalesces.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.