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Tramel: From charming to chapped, Kevin Durant is ‘just ready to play, man'

by Berry Tramel Published: May 22, 2011

Kevin Durant wasn't himself Sunday afternoon. That makes two days in a row. Durant certainly wasn't himself Saturday night.

In Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals, Durant made just seven of 22 shots in the Thunder's series-shifting loss to the James Garners.

Durant occasionally has games like that. And the next time you see him, be it shootaround or ballgame or big screen, he's smiling and congenial. Resolved and determined, but still full of gee-whiz charm. Same old KD.

Not Sunday at Thunder headquarters. Durant was somber. Gloomy. Angry, almost. Check that. Angry, definitely.

Mad at the media? Mad at himself? Mad at DeShawn Stevenson's defense, which is trying to go all Shane Battier and Tony Allen on the NBA scoring champion?

Head cold? Girl problems? Cable out at the new house in Gaillardia?

Whatever it is, Durant offered no clues.

“We just don't want to lose,” Durant said. “Just ready to play, man.”

It all makes for an interesting Game 4 Monday night downtown. Win, and the Thunder has turned this into a best-of-3 series. Lose, and the home crowd likely has seen the last of this lovable basketball team until sometime after this summer's league lockout.

And to win, the Thunder needs the Durant of Games 1 and 2, when he made 24 of 48 shots and averaged 32 points.

Scotty Brooks expressed confidence that Durant will be fine in Game 4. Even said Durant, despite his public countenance, often gets angry after a poor outing.

Anger is not something we've seen out of Durant. Not sure that we want to. Who knows what a good mean streak would do to Durant?

Could turn into him into the most unguardable monster the NBA ever has seen. Or could upset the delicate balance of talent, skill and personality that has made Durant the poster boy for all that is good about pro basketball.

Mad or mean or much ado about nothing, Durant vows to be more aggressive in Game 4.

Can't blame Durant for feeling persecuted. Finally free of those Memphis ruffians, Durant had two excellent games in Dallas only to return home and find trouble from Stevenson, primarily, with help from Shawn Marion and Jason Kidd.

“Plain and simple,” Durant said. “I figured it out. Be more aggressive. Be stronger with my catches and my drives.”

Scott Brooks responds to Rick Carlisle

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by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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