Berry Tramel: Thunder needs a little variety at game's end
The Thunder beat the Suns 122-118 in overtime Sunday night. No thanks to another exasperating last-possession play, Kevin Durant's 20-foot pull-up jumper that clanged off the rim and sent us all to overtime.
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Not to be picky, Scotty Brooks — the Thunder is not that far removed from a 23-win season — but any chance we can see a little variety in the final possession of close games?
A Russell Westbrook or James Harden drive? Durant curling off a screen? A pick'n pop with Serge Ibaka? Heck, Thabo Sefolosha from the corner. Anything but another Durant drive on the wing, usually against a ferocious defender who forces Durant wide and no closer to the basket.
“I feel like I got a good look at it,” Durant said. “I'd take that shot nine times out of 10. That's a shot I work on in practice.”
With Grant Hill's 38 years of whiskers draped all over you?
“He still got the ball and got a shot off,” said Hill, “Guys like him, good defense is not going to affect him. If I was really good, I would have denied him the ball.”
Don't believe it. Hill's defense allowed Durant to go nowhere near scoring position. Durant's shot was a prayer, and it's only his amazing ability that allowed it to have a chance.
In all fairness, Durant nailed much that same shot against the Knickerbockers a couple of months back. But for the most part, the Thunder's addiction to a Durant drive isn't working in the final 10 seconds of games. We've seen it repeatedly over this season.
Brooks called the shot “decent. Wasn't great.” He called a set play which ended up with Durant in a one-on-one isolation against Hill, far from the hoop.
Brooks also called the situation one of the toughest plays in the NBA. He noticed the ABC graphic during the Heat-Bulls game Sunday that showed the lack of last-possession success.