Thunder notebook: Kevin Durant's best season ends off the mark

by Ryan Aber Published: May 16, 2013

The most efficient season in Kevin Durant's six-year career ended very inefficiently during Wednesday's 88-84 season-ending loss to the Memphis Grizzlies at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

Durant became a member of the exclusive 50-40-90 club by shooting 50 percent from the field, 40 percent from 3-point range and 90 percent from the free-throw line during the regular season.

In Wednesday's season finale, Durant shot just 23.8 percent (5 for 21) from the field, 73.3 percent (11 for 15) from the line and went 0 for 4 from 3-point range. His 17-foot attempt to tie the game with 3.3 seconds remaining was off the mark.

It had a similar look to Durant's final game of the 2009-10 season, when the Thunder was eliminated at home in the first round against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Durant shot just 5 for 23 against the Lakers and 14 for 15 from the free-throw line. He finished with 26 points, six rebounds and three assists.

NO PITY FOR OKC

Memphis point guard Mike Conley said earlier in the series the Grizzlies would have rather have faced the Thunder with three-time All-Star guard Russell Westbrook.

Memphis coach Lionel Hollins was asked before Game 5 if he would have rather faced OKC with Westbrook in the lineup.

“I love where we are,” Hollins said.

Injuries are part of the NBA, and Hollins would know.

The Grizzlies were without forward Rudy Gay during the 2010-11 playoffs. Gay had shoulder surgery in mid-February. The No. 8-seeded Grizzlies beat No. 1-seeded San Antonio in the opening round before losing to the No. 2-seeded Thunder in seven games in the second round.

Westbrook tore the lateral meniscus in his right knee in Game 2 of the first round against Houston and underwent season-ending surgery three days later.

FINISHING TOUCH

Memphis forward Tayshaun Prince said the fourth quarter was the time the Thunder missed Westbrook most, which explains why the Grizzlies often excelled late in games to close out the series with four straight victories.

“When they're missing a guy like Russell, and he hasn't missed any games throughout his whole career, you had that chemistry with him,” Prince said after Game 5. “(Replacement) Reggie Jackson had a helluva series, but the team's chemistry is not the same as it is with Russ. When it comes down to the fourth quarter, when it was time to really get things going, they missed Russ out there.”

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by Ryan Aber
Reporter
Ryan Aber has worked for The Oklahoman since 2006, covering high schools, the Oklahoma City RedHawks, the Oklahoma City Barons and OU football recruiting. An Oklahoma City native, Aber graduated from Northeastern State. Before joining The...
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