And after two games, that dirty little secret could be out.
In the opener at Utah, the Thunder rode Durant as he dumped in 42 points and carried the Thunder to a three-point win. Minnesota, however, is far superior to the Jazz, and the Wolves' defense limited Durant to 13 points, the fewest he's scored since New Year's Eve 2011. Durant had as many turnovers (four) as made field goals.
Minnesota sent two defenders at Durant each time he caught a pass in the post, and the Wolves had three sets of eyes watching Durant whenever he had his defender isolated on the wing.
“It's not just one guy,” Durant said when asked about Wolves forward Corey Brewer's defense. “If they play one-on-one, I felt I had the better matchup. But every time I caught it, it was two guys guarding me. So I got to kick it to my teammates.”
Right now, they're not much help.
The Thunder went 7-for-31 from 3-point range Friday and is now 13-for-50 from that distance in two games. Serge Ibaka, Thabo Sefolosha and Reggie Jackson, presumably three players who need to make up the bulk of the scoring in Westbrook's absence, combined to miss 23 of their 30 shot attempts. It contributed to the Thunder's 34.9-percent shooting on the night.
Jeremy Lamb was the only other Thunder player to score in double digits, but much of his career-high 16 points came in garbage time.
“Just keep trusting,” Durant said when asked the counter for opponents' obvious game plan of making others beat them. “Just keep trusting my teammates and give them confidence and it's going to start opening up for me.”
For Durant, the balancing act of continuing to trust streaky teammates versus taking over is a difficult one. But it's one he must figure out, and figure out quickly, in order for the Thunder to stay afloat while Westbrook is sidelined.
“That's still what I'm learning,” Durant said. “I got to keep trusting my teammates first and foremost. But sometimes, when the shots are not falling, if they're not hitting them, maybe I got to be a little bit more aggressive against the double-team. I just got to figure it out.”