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

Kevin Durant watched the ball sailing over his outstretched hand and felt his stomach drop.

Something had been lost in translation, and Daequan Cook's inbounds pass landed in enemy hands. In less time than it takes to read the first couple paragraphs of this column, the Warriors nailed a pair of last-second shots and erased the Thunder's six-point lead.

Durant could hardly believe his mistake.

He apologized to Cook, then made up for it in overtime.

He wasn't about to let that blunder ruin his night.

On a night when Oklahoma City defeated Golden State 115-114 with some bonus basketball, Durant broke out of his self-proclaimed slump. He scored 39 points. He hit 13 of 23 shots and 10 of 12 free throws. But most importantly, he carried the freight in overtime, scoring eight of the Thunder's nine points.

“Felt good,” Durant said, smiling.

And you could see that it really did.

This was only the third time that Durant has scored at least 30 points in a game this month. By comparison, he had four 30-point games in the All-Star Break-shortened month of February and seven in the month of January.

Durant has struggled with his shot this month, had nights when he was 3 of 14 and 6 of 21 and 5 of 18.

Ugly.

No one has been more frustrated by it than the man himself. He figures he works too hard to struggle so badly. He's the guy, after all, who's at the far end of the practice gym working on things that he might actually use in a game while his teammates are horsing around shooting trick shots at the end of practice.

He's been annoyed. He's been angry. He's been through his own version of March Madness.

“I've been working hard,” Durant said. “I was in a little slump, but I stuck with it, kept working hard and shots started to fall.”

The thing is, even as Durant has been struggling, the Thunder has been winning. It left Oklahoma City heading for Phoenix for a game Wednesday night with a 13-2 record in March, by far this team's best month of the season.

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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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