Thunder's Kevin Durant breaks out of slump

On a night when Oklahoma City defeated Golden State 115-114 with some bonus basketball, Durant broke out of his self-proclaimed slump with 39 points.
by Jenni Carlson Published: March 29, 2011

This team has figured out different ways to win.

Sometimes, it uses a big night from Russell Westbrook like it did Sunday against Portland. Sometimes, it capitalizes on a balanced, seven-players-in-double-figures attack like it did Friday against Minnesota. Sometimes, it leans on the defense like it did against Charlotte in the first game of this now-completed six-game homestand.

That kind of variety makes the Thunder more dangerous than ever.

“That's the great thing about this team — every game, win or lose, we find ways to somehow push this team forward and get better,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said.

Lately, though, they're figuring things out as they're winning.

Good news for the Thunder as it closes out the regular season and prepares for the playoffs.

Bad news for the teams that stand in their way.

Yes, Durant needs to play more like he did Tuesday if the Thunder wants to make a deep playoff run. You can't have him going 4 of 21 and expect to win many playoff series.

But maybe this month has taught the Thunder than it doesn't have to put everything on KD in order to win.

Take the Thunder's last possession Tuesday. It put the ball in Westbrook's hands and gave him the option — drive to the basket or dish to Durant.

Westbrook went to the goal, got fouled and made the game-winning free throw.

“Having great teammates to lean on ... makes it a lot easier on me,” Durant said.

They have been picking him up when he's struggled, and Tuesday night, he returned the favor.

“Everybody goes through tests in life, and I guess that was one of them for me,” Durant said. “Glad it's over with.”

He raised an eyebrow.

“I hope it's over with.”

Even on this gray, overcast night, a star shone again.


by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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