Three-time All-Star Kevin Durant finished just two assists away from a triple-double against the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
He also finished just four turnovers shy of a quadruple-double as the Thunder lost 104-95 before a sellout crowd of 18,203.
Rarely does a player threaten a triple-double on what could be considered a so-so performance. Durant had 22 points, but shot just 7 for 17 from the field. He also had 12 points and eight rebounds, but committed six turnovers.
There have been several times the league's three-time scoring champ is thinking pass rather than shoot.
“I never complain about guys trying to make the extra pass and making the right play,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. “Kevin is a playmaker who makes the right play. I thought he passed up four shots tonight, and that's something I will talk to him about. When you're open, you've got to shoot it. That's what we talk about to all of our guys.”
Durant has 16 turnovers in three games, a number that would be considerably less if he would look to shoot rather than pass.
“Sometimes I've got to be more aggressive to score. That's what I do,” Durant said. “Next game I'll be better in that area. I've got to make more plays, my teammates and myself. Some shots I think I should have took, but I passed up, but I'll be better next time.”
Atlanta Hawks assistant coach/consultant Bob Weiss was an assistant with the Seattle SuperSonics when they selected Nick Collison with the 12th pick in the 2003 Draft.
Weiss helped Collison cope with having surgery on both shoulders his rookie season.
“He was really helpful with me,” Collison said of Weiss. “He did a good job. I like Bob a lot. He was important for me as a young player, for sure. He was always the guy who kept everything in perspective. When everyone else was serious, he was kind of the guy who could maybe have a lighter moment with you and get you to relax and play. He's been around the league a long time. He's a really smart guy.”
OH, SAY CAN YOU …
Ten-year-old Nolia Sweatt sang the national anthem before Sunday's game. Whenever someone so young faces such pregame pressure, it's hard not to think of Thunder assistant and former Portland coach Maurice Cheeks coming to the rescue of 13-year-old Natalie Gilbert when she forgot the words and sang alongside her in the Rose Garden on April 25, 2003.
There was no need for Cheeks to accompany Sweatt, who nailed it.
Sweatt had been there before. She also sang at age 8 before the Thunder's home game against Boston on Nov. 7, 2010.
OKC shot 20 for 22 (. 909) from the free-throw line. This came after shooting 23 for 32 (. 719) at the line against Portland on Sunday. … Serge Ibaka, who entered the game shooting just 27.8 percent from the field, went 6 for 9 against the Hawks. … Russell Westbrook suffered a left shoulder contusion in the first quarter and received a heat treatment while on the bench. … Atlanta had a 16-8 advantage in second-chance points.
Durant entered Sunday's game as the NBA's leading rebounder at 15.5 per game. Brooks claimed Durant stole three rebounds away from teammates against Portland on Friday. Collison confirmed such was the case before Sunday's game against Atlanta and playfully said: “He's been doing that for four years now. Nothing I can do about it. He's just more talented and taller than I am. That's all. Yeah, he did (steal one of my rebounds). I'm over it.”
BY JOHN ROHDE