Before Wednesday's game between Oklahoma City and San Antonio, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was asked about the defensive development of forward Kawhi Leonard and if that changes the way he gameplans for Kevin Durant.
“No,” Popovich explained. “Kevin's turning into Amare Stoudemire for us. No matter how we guard him, he scores 30. We'd done everything to Amare over the years when he was in Phoenix. The game would end, I'd look at the stat sheet and he'd have 30. Some nights he'd have 38.”
“Same thing with Kevin. He's going to figure out some way to score. We try to stop him but he still gets his shots off, gets to the line and does what he does, no matter what. That's who Kevin Durant is. That's why he's so great.”
ALL GROWN UP?
Thunder forward Nick Collison thinks it's time observers stop separating his team into two groups: veterans and youngsters.
“We want to kind of stop referring to them as those guys and us guys,” Collison said. “I think we're kind of past that. We want to all play well and try to help all of our teammates out.”
But the younger players in the second unit, Collison said, are coming along well.
“They're getting a better feel for how to play and they're more comfortable and they're really good players,” Collison said. “I think that's the most important thing. They have a lot of talent and ability, and now that they're figuring out how to play more than they were earlier in the year it's really good for us. You can see some improvement.”
SPURS SHOWING NO EFFECTS FROM DEVASTATING FINALS LOSS
Coming off one of the most heart-wrenching NBA Finals defeats in history to the Heat, some figured the Spurs would start this season slow, still feeling the lingering effects.
But instead, the Spurs are arguably the hottest team in basketball, shooting out to a 13-1 record at the outset of this season. San Antonio had won 11 games in a row entering play on Wednesday.
Much of that can be attributed to Popovich and his no-nonsense philosophy.
“We've had a practice all these years that the first thing we do is watch film of our last series, win or lose,” Popovich said. “So we showed them Miami, I got on their (expletive), told them they did this wrong, they did that wrong.
“That's a whole lot better than crying and saying, ‘Oh jeez, the basketball gods were really tough on us in the end of Game 6, how could those things happen?' That's not going to do any good for anybody. So rather than do that I wanted them to come out of the film session angered that they missed opportunity and that sort of thing, rather than poor me.”STAT OF THE GAME
Popovich when asked if he ever thinks about the Game 6 loss: “I think about it every day.”