Kevin Durant was asked following Tuesday's loss to Portland if his team's sense of urgency is rising in light of the Oklahoma City Thunder's two-game losing streak.
“What?” Durant asked, sounding shocked at the question. “You think we panicking?”
A small crowd of reporters couldn't help but chuckle at the response. But in a way, plenty of people, both in the media and in the team's fan base, perhaps needed to hear a rhetorical retort like that from Durant. If nothing else, it provided some perspective.
After opening the year with five straight wins, the Thunder looked the part of the championship contender many claimed it would be coming into this season. That winning streak, though, masked mistakes which became more glaring with the Thunder dropping its past two by a combined 23 points.
“It's not like we're getting down on ourselves,” Durant said. “We're seven games into the season.”
It seems that reality has been lost everywhere but inside the Thunder's locker room.
“We have to keep improving,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. “But our guys understand that. They understand this is not the final product that you will see.”
The two-game skid will now serve as a reminder, a humbling one in which Oklahoma City will look to learn from before it retakes the court for a three games in three nights test that start Friday.
“Sometimes you need losses to remind you that you got to get better,” said forward Nick Collison. “You wish it wasn't like that. You wish you could always realize you need to improve. But, human nature, sometimes you get a little lax when you're winning.”
In the first five games, the Thunder held its opponents to 40.6 percent shooting and an average of 96.6 points. But the wins overshadowed how each game included either blown double-digit leads or numerous breakdowns defensively.