Now Tony Allen and the Grizzlies have conspired to limit Durant's launches. Thunder scoring is falling, in conjunction with Durant opportunities. Durant used 34 Thunder possessions in Game 1 (shots, foul shots, turnovers), 32 in Game 2 and 26 in Game 3. Reverse that trend and reverse it immediately.
Back when the world was young — you know, when Westbrook was healthy — the Thunder excelled when Durant and Westbrook didn't dominate the shots or the points.
With every Serge Ibaka missed dunk and Kevin Martin clanger, that theory is kaput.
The Thunder had a strange Game 3. The offense clearly was better when Brooks went with a small lineup and gambled that his defense would hold up. But Durant scored much more easily with the big lineup.
“It's not a lineup, it's not who's on the court,” Durant said. “I missed shots. No excuses. I gotta do a better job.”
Durant fancies himself a facilitator, and maybe he is. But his passes are for naught if Memphis allows few open shots and the Thunder misses when it gets one.
Right now, Durant taking a tough shot is a better bet than most of his teammates taking an open shot. That's counter-intuitive, but that's life in the playoffs.
Don't look now, but all kinds of teams are having trouble scoring. The Spurs managed 87 points Sunday in an overtime game against the defense-challenged Warriors. The Knickerbockers topped out at 71 points on Saturday.
Get a basket any way you can. Get to 88 or 93 any way you can.
And the Thunder's best hope, at least now, at least against Memphis, is for Kevin Durant to go all Rucker Park.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at email@example.com. 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.