Kevin Durant will appear in an upcoming issue of Sports Illustrated as one of the magazine’s most influential athletes. Durant had a photo shoot for the magazine last week and called his inclusion one of his biggest honors to date. "It’s a major honor,” Durant said. "It’s good to be recognized on the floor, but to be recognized both on the floor and off the floor feels good. It’s a testament to my family and how my mom and dad raised me. "I never thought I could be in that category with those people. Hopefully I can continue to influence people to be better people and hopefully be better basketball people as well.” When asked why he should be among a list of influential athletes, he pointed to his personality. "How humble I am and how I approach the game and the kind of person I am off the floor as well,” Durant said. "I’m just always about the right stuff.”
Four-game homestand ends in splitA pivotal four-game homestand ended with a costly 92-87 loss to Portland on Sunday night. The Thunder went 2-2 on the homestand, winning against the middle two against Houston and the Los Angeles Lakers. "We put ourselves in a position that we’re having meaningful games and that’s what we wanted to do at the start of the season,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. "We’re not happy that we lose games, but we played some good teams, some very, very tough teams that are going to make a run in the playoffs.”
Miller makes the differenceBehind stellar defense from Durant, Thabo Sefolosha and James Harden, the Thunder limited Blazers All-Star guard Brandon Roy to 20 points on 8-of-22 shooting. But a byproduct of heavy attention on Roy was Portland 34-year-old point guard Andre Miller going off for a team-high 26 points.
All count the sameFollowing Sunday’s loss, Brooks gave his most elaborate explanation of why the Thunder has preached the trite "one-game-at-a-time” approach. "If I would put more emphasis on this game I really believe, and I did this as a player, you cheat the fans,” Brooks said. "They pay top dollar for these tickets. You’re basically telling the fans it’s not important. Just come when it’s important at the very end of the season. That’s not fair.”
BrieflyFor the first time all season, Durant did not address the media. Durant, who had game-highs of 29 points and 13 rebounds, had already exited the Thunder’s locker room by the time the media entered.