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Thunder-Lakers: All hail Kevin Durant, King Closer

COMMENTARY — The Thunder's 103-100 win answered the question of which player on this planet you want taking the shot with the game on the line.
by Berry Tramel Published: May 20, 2012

These guys are made of something special. Starting with No. 35.

The game started off frustrating for KD. His shot was falling, but his aggression was off. Durant kept missing drives to the basket, and the Thunder failed to dent the Laker lead.

But the Thunder chipped away, chipped away, and when Westbrook got hot – scoring on four straight possessions – it was anybody's game in crunch time.

Which more and more means it's Durant's game.

With the score tied at 98 in the final minute, the Lakers had the ball, but Pau Gasol brain-locked and threw a weak pass into the middle of the court. Durant was more than happy to spear it and head up court. For a minute, you thought he would go all the way to the basket and force the issue.

Instead, Durant pulled it out and dribbled down the clock.

It was a classic moment. Oklahoma's great hero guarded by Oklahoma's mortal enemy, Metta World Chaos.

“I knew (Chaos) was going to play off of me just a little bit,” Durant said. “Getting to the rim, I didn't want to chance that.” Not with Andrew Bynum standing there protecting the rim.

“I saw some air space and I was able to knock it down,” Durant said. “I wanted to run the shot clock down and get the last shot. I was just trying to look at the floor and try to get the best shot possible.

“I seen Artest back up just a hair. I shot it. I thought, ‘If this doesn't go in, it's going to be a terrible shot and they're going to criticize me a lot.'”

Not a chance of that. The criticism is over. Any big shot that needs to be taken, feel free to take it. The Closer King plays for Oklahoma City.

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at 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

by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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