Kevin Durant in Friday’s loss at Houston scored the necessary points to extend his streak of 25-point games to 40. But he labored through much of the night, struggling to both find his shooting touch and take care of the ball.
He went 7-for-19 from the field and had a game-high six turnovers.
But Durant downplayed the defensive impact Rockets forwards Chandler Parsons and Francisco Garcia might have had, and before leaving Houston, Durant delivered a parting shot that could only add to the growing animosity between the two teams.
“They wasn’t playing one on one. It was one on three,” Durant said. “They’re funneling me to two or three guys. And before I get the ball, they got two guys on me. So those dudes can’t check me one on one. They know that. I ain’t afraid to say it, either. They know that. I was playing with double teams, triple teams, but I still got to find a way to do it. They’re physical just like everybody else, and I’ve been playing against physical players my whole life. So it’s nothing different.”
Durant tallied 28 points for the second straight night, but against San Antonio on Friday he made just 11 of 26 shots while committing four turnovers. But he sounded confident his rhythm would return soon.
“I would love to shoot 60 percent every game. But it’s not going to happen,” Durant said. “I’m always going to stay aggressive. I’m never going to let that stop me from playing my game. I’ll go back to the drawing board and keep working. That’s what I always do. It’s a matter of time before they start falling.
HARDEN SNAPS SLUMP AGAINST THUNDER
James Harden erupted for a game-high 39 points Friday against OKC, slicing up the Thunder’s defense with slick drives, sharpshooting from beyond the 3-point line and non-stop trips to the foul stripe. Harden added nine rebounds and seven assists. He made 17 of 20 free throws.
The Thunder attempted just 20 free throws.
“We didn’t do a good job throughout the night of defending without fouling,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. “They got 37 free throws. We fouled, I think, three shooters in the fourth quarter. That’s not what we need to do.”
It was by far Harden’s best game against the Thunder since scoring a career-high 46 points last season. In the three meetings since, Harden had been held to 17.3 points per game on just 37 percent shooting against his former team.
SERGE SHINES FRIDAY
Overshadowed in Friday’s loss at Houston because of Durant’s feat and Harden’s production was the play of Thunder forward Serge Ibaka, who had a monster game.
Ibaka tied his career high of 27 points and added nine rebounds, four assists and six blocked shots.
“He was giving us everything,” said Caron Butler. “He always plays with unbelievable spirit and pride out there and brings it night in and night out on the defensive end. And it transferred to the offensive end.”
Garcia on frustrating Durant in the first half Friday — “It’s all good. It’s competition. That’s what it’s all about, competing. He knows that I mean no harm. I know that we talked at halftime or whatever and he was cool. But when we were on the floor, it’s whatever.”