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Thunder-Spurs: The life and times of Kevin Durant in Game 1

May 28, 2012, 2:05 AM EDT

Oklahoma City Thunder v San Antonio Spurs - Game One

Momma said there’d be days like this.

Kevin Durant had a pretty bizarre Game 1 vs. San Antonio. He couldn’t get it going in the first half, shook loose in the third quarter, and then was bottled up by San Antonio in the fourth. He hit free throws, a result of the Spurs’ defensive approach on him, but was just 0-2 from the field. Forget the percentage, Kevin Durant got two field goal attempts in the fourth quarter. Is that going to cut it? Obviously not, as the Spurs won 101-98.

Of the many things the Thunder needed in Game 1, Thabo Sefolosha on the floor in the 4th, more control and patience from Russell Westbrook and James Harden, Manu Ginobili to vanish from the Earth suddenly in an alien abduction, they also needed a smarter game from Durant. 27 points on 19 shots is perfectly efficient for Durant, but it could have been more. Truth be told, the Spurs had no real answer for Durant’s length. Stephen Jackson dug in. Kawhi Leonard pestered. But if Durant managed his offense better, he could have had more.

But can you pin this loss on Durant? No. He gave them 27 on 19, and that should be good enough.

However, Durant is going to have to take the hardest assignment. He did it in Round 2 vs. Kobe Bryant. He’s going to have to do it in the WCF against Manu Ginobili.

The Thunder have no one to even slow down Ginobili. Harden is wholly outmatched. Westbrook has his hands full with Parker. Thabo Sefolosha can help, but he should honestly be guarding Parker. Durant needs to use his length and lateral quickness to guard Ginobili. Cut off the angles, limit the penetration, contest the shots. Sefolosha needs work on him. Durant needs work on him.

Are there tangible things Durant can do better? It’s hard to say. Should Westbrook or Harden improve? Undeniably.

But Durant has the most advantages, as usual, more than usual. It was clear from the start. Durant is going to have to be more than just a scoring machine. He has to be dominant in every area, making a difference on every level. That’s how good the Spurs are.

  1. BigBeachBall - May 28, 2012 at 2:55 AM

    KD will be the new lebron if lebron gets a ring….

    • kavika6 - May 28, 2012 at 8:14 AM

      Please don’t insult Durant like that.

    • mightyquinn69 - May 28, 2012 at 12:42 PM

      Bron isn’t getting a ring this year either. That Ring will belong to the winner of the Western Conference series.

    • lyndseymarieee - May 29, 2012 at 12:11 AM

      No shot. LeBron is arrogant. KD is not. And for that alone, he will never be the “new LeBron”.

  2. groversrovers - May 28, 2012 at 5:15 AM

    If?… If a ring. It puts him ahead of Lebron? Come on man. Sy Sperling will always be better than KD. Dan Marino of basketball? Maybe, but still a great player. Durant might end up more Drexler than anything, or (for the cross-reference) Jim Kelly.

  3. 91devinhester23 - May 28, 2012 at 5:47 AM

    doodle did not jump :(

  4. whodeytn - May 28, 2012 at 5:58 AM

    Unbiased viewer here… I noticed last night that Ginobli takes three steps every time he goes for a layup. Isn’t that a bit ridiculous? I mean, I know they hardly ever call traveling… But come on.

    • metalhead65 - May 28, 2012 at 7:18 AM

      what is this traveling you speak of? I vaguely remember back in the dark ages when learning to play that if you left your feet you had to pass or shoot the ball before you came back down,now that is like everybody’s first step on their drive to the hoop.come back down fake the shot then dribble again,I think they used to call that a double dribble then take 3 steps and shoot it. I know they are better athletes and but still under the rules everybody travels today.

    • kavika6 - May 28, 2012 at 8:16 AM

      Have you ever watched the NBA before? Most of the stars do it. Starting with labron.

    • avermaver - May 28, 2012 at 12:19 PM

      I saw that also, especially on a three point play in the 4th that was shown like three times without the announcers saying a word about the obvious travel. They get away with the third step sometimes, but when they abuse that privilege it needs to be called.

  5. lemfax - May 28, 2012 at 7:23 AM

    Ginobili is much easier to guard than Kobe. The truth is spurs offense isn’t concentrate to 1 or 2 players but for everybody on the court.

  6. lakerluver - May 28, 2012 at 9:00 AM

    Maybe you’re just being cute with his name but just in case you’re not it’s LEBRON. Anyway, I digress, I thought Harden was “allegedly” a good defender, yet he can’t guard a much older player? Manu and the Spurs are really good. To quote Dennis Green, “crown their arse” because no team left can beat the Spurs 4 out of 7 games.

    • acdavis - May 28, 2012 at 9:41 AM

      Who ever said that Harden was a good defender? He’s known for his scoring ability and the fact that he can run the 2nd string offense, but definitely not for his defense!

  7. furio2929 - May 28, 2012 at 9:41 AM

    @whodeytn NBA they are relaxed on the traveling and some refs will allow for an extra step taking into consideration a player on fast break running at full speed. As long as they are consistent no one will complain too much. There is a dumb rumor that three steps are allowed before a layup, but only two steps on any other shot, etc. This is complete false

  8. patsfanvt - May 28, 2012 at 10:21 AM

    Why do we always refer to this points per shot attempt comparison, without regard to how many FTs someone shoots? Durant was excellent, but 27 pts on 19 shot attempts is misleading. Nothing wrong with just saying his stat line and saying it’s pretty good.

  9. ezmagic - May 28, 2012 at 10:49 AM

    I thought ginobili traveled too but watching in slow motion it was only 2 steps that he took most of the time. LEBRONA and wade travel most of the time with that “crab” step they usually take. oh and don’t forget all the push offs and hooks they do as they drive in that don’t get called . That’s how they get to the rim so easy.

    Spurs are way too good, experienced, disciplined and well coached to not to win a championship.

  10. texasntech - May 28, 2012 at 11:05 AM

    No matter who the journalist or broadcaster, they can’t bring themselves to credit the Spurs, but fall all over themselves telling us how their opponents should play, but only when there is nothing to say about the Lakers.

    Apparently the Spurs don’t need their props to win.

    • scalfor3 - May 28, 2012 at 1:42 PM

      the story after every game usually has a lot to do about what the loser needs to do to not lose the next game. the spurs are clearly the favorite to win the title this year. what is there to write about the spurs other than that they are a really good, deep team? stop whining and enjoy your team’s success

  11. davincizsp - May 28, 2012 at 11:22 AM

    You’ve said nothing

  12. furio2929 - May 28, 2012 at 11:59 AM

    I’m tired of ESPN n alike. I have to wait an hr for Spurs highlights. That’s after watching highlights for the heat 20 times.

  13. gmsingh - May 28, 2012 at 12:21 PM

    I’d be really surprised if the Thunder didn’t bounce back and this series didn’t go to 7 games.

    • 00maltliquor - May 28, 2012 at 5:48 PM

      That’s exactly what’s going to happen. With the Thunder winning in 7.

      • gmsingh - May 28, 2012 at 6:35 PM

        I like Durant a lot, so I’m not going to argue with that. (Westbrook I could do without, though.)

  14. avermaver - May 28, 2012 at 12:26 PM

    I thought the Spurs were playing Durant more physically in the 4th than other teams have been allowed to play him. I think the refs see these old Spurs and let them get away with playing the kind of defense they played back in the day. You could see how frustrated Durant was a couple times when he ended up on the floor and had to get back up and scramble on defense because he didn’t get the call.

    • scalfor3 - May 28, 2012 at 1:50 PM

      why would the league/refs favor the boring, ratings-killing spurs over the young exciting thunder and their ascending superstar?

      i have no dog in this fight btw, i like watching both these teams

  15. furio2929 - May 28, 2012 at 12:37 PM

    I say it’s a championship playoff. Let them play. I saw a lot of calls against the Spurs that left u scratching your head. Goes both ways. I see no favoritism here.

    • lyndseymarieee - May 29, 2012 at 12:17 AM

      Those refs were being so nit-picky. It made the game hard to watch because they were shooting freethrows or taking the ball out every 30 seconds.

    • gmsingh - May 29, 2012 at 8:46 AM

      Agreed–it’s not a Heat series.

  16. schaffershokai - May 28, 2012 at 12:54 PM

    Durant should retire and try his hand at this: http://youtu.be/UVspaHILMZ4

  17. furio2929 - May 28, 2012 at 1:49 PM

    Believe me. I’m enjoying every minute of it

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