I wrote about Kevin Durant’s clutch ability for the Tuesday Oklahoman, which you can read here. But I had some leftover quotes that were really interesting.
Derek Fisher: “The shots that he is capable of making, he is now showing he can make it look easy. That’s not something you see every day … it’s always great to be on the same team with those (kind of) guys.
Memphis coach Lionel Hollins: “That’s what makes great players. Just go through history, all the great players make big shots down in the clutch. That’s why they’re great and not just good. How they got it? Who knows? I’m sure a lot of it is God-given physical ability and then the hard work that they put in and the mindset that they have. They want the ball at that particular time. There’s a lot involved.”
Fisher: “At this level, it’s the NBA. There’s a lot of guys on a lot of teams that you can give the ball to that are going to find a way to make shots in the fourth quarter. But what makes sports is, you don’t know it’s going to happen until it happens. That’s why winning as a team is so important and so special, is because it allows you collectively to get to a certain place.”
Hollins: “Durant’s a great example. Just go through history. Just name a player. Michael Jordan, great clutch player. Larry Bird, great clutch player. Larry Bird, Isiah Thomas. Go all the way back to Sam Jones and John Havlicek. George Mikan was a great clutch player. Bob Pettit. That’s what makes this game, is great players. Players make this game. They go out and play and they do things and they make coaches smart. They make coaches Hall of Famers.”
Thabo Sefolosha: “Huge, the play he did last game, that’s definitely not an easy shot. Just knowing he’s able to knock down that kind of shot is a big plus for our team.”
Fisher, a noted clutch player himself, on missing big shots: “There’s always emotions and anxieties, stress, with being in those moments. It’s how you manage it. Essentially, how you deal with it when you don’t make the shot. Kevin and all the greats, that’s what they’re willing to do. They really don’t remember that they missed the last one. They’ll take it again every time.”
Hollins on great players who might not have been great in the clutch: “They weren’t great players. If you’re not a clutch player, you’re not a great player.”
Hollins on clutch players who might not have been great players: “There’s been a lot of players play off the great players and be able to make great shots. But they don’t have the physical capability to be great.”