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Thunder respond to Nuggets' claims that team is ‘cocky'

by Darnell Mayberry Published: April 14, 2011

Kevin Durant was caught off guard by recent accusatory comments by the Denver Nuggets.

“We cocky?” Durant asked, as if the Nuggets couldn't be pointing the finger at his Oklahoma City Thunder.

But Denver is indeed.

Two days before the 4-5 matchup in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs was even set, the Nuggets took aim at Oklahoma City, serving up a subplot to what already should be a scintillating series.

Reserve point guard Raymond Felton on Monday went on the record with Denver reporters saying he hoped to draw the Thunder in the opening round. Felton, according to the Denver Post, said he felt like his team owed Oklahoma City because the Thunder was talking trash in the teams' final two regular season meetings, both Thunder wins. Nuggets coach George Karl was even more candid. Karl was quoted as saying, “There's no question there's a cockiness to Oklahoma City.”

The Thunder finally responded after Wednesday's loss to Milwaukee assured Oklahoma City and Denver would meet in the first round.

“I don't think that, man,” Durant said. “I mean, we play with an edge. That's what you have to play with in this league. I don't think we're cocky. We don't go out and say that we want to play the Denver Nuggets because we think we can beat them. We respect them as a team. We always have a humble approach to everything.”

Professionalism and humbleness. Those are two traits that make up the ‘Thunder Way.' The Nuggets' comments this week, though, brought that reputation into question for the first time in the franchise's three-year existence in Oklahoma City.

“We have a standard that we put in place and if we go below that we talk about it as a group. I discuss it with our team,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. “I haven't discussed that yet since I've been the head coach. I'm proud of our guys. They conduct themselves as professionals.”

Nonetheless, Karl reiterated his claim to Denver reporters on Thursday.

“We know what they were saying after the game here,” Karl is quoted as saying. “We know what they were saying. We know. I'm not going to bring it to the public, but we know. It gets back to us.”

The Thunder's resident trash talker and all-around tough guy, Kendrick Perkins, said his teammates haven't said anything about the Nuggets. Following the April 5 win at Denver, Thunder players almost fearfully avoided admitting they had just won a big game.

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by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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