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Oklahoma City 97, Chicago 91: Kevin Durant cares little for your defense

Nov 8, 2012, 11:34 PM EDT

Kevin Durant

For roughly 45 minutes of gametime, the Oklahoma City Thunder looked awful. The Thunder led the NBA in turnovers last year, and in front of a national audience tonight, they showed why they might do it again this year, coughing the ball up 22 times on the evening. There were silly plays and overly ambitious ones; communication errors and breakdowns in the halfcourt. It was ugly. The Bulls can quickly turn the prettiest offense into a hideous mess, but these wounds felt mostly self-inflicted.

And you know what? It didn’t matter.

Because at the end of the day, Oklahoma City had Kevin Durant. And for as great as Chicago’s team defense is, and for as well as Luol Deng (27 points) played on both ends, it was all rendered obsolete by Durant (24 points, 11-for-19) in the game’s closing moments.

If it sounds unfair, it is. That’s just the way it is guarding Durant, who can shoot over the top of anyone and can use his quick first step to generate space. And when he’s doing the Dirk Nowitzki one step fadeaway? Let’s just all go home.

The Bulls deserved to win this game. They were more creative offensively, running great off-ball stuff for Rip Hamilton (20 points) and Deng. They hit the offensive glass harder (12-8) than the Thunder. They adjusted for Carlos Boozer (9 points, 3-for-9) giving them nothing by posting up Hamilton instead.

But what they couldn’t do is stop Durant from scoring eight points in the final three minutes, and I’m not entirely sure any team could have. With Scott Brooks starting to figure things out a bit in late game situations, Oklahoma City is going to be tough to stop. No more isolations 30-feet away from the basket — Durant is catching at 18-feet, putting the ball on the floor, and firing up a high percentage shot. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Games like this do make you wonder, though. Is Oklahoma City reaching their full potential as a team? The turnovers don’t seem to be going away anytime soon, and it’s worth considering that the talent isn’t always being fully maximized by Brooks.

But again, it’s Durant who makes it all seem irrelevant with one flick of the wrist. And until that stops happening, there’s no reason to think the Thunder won’t keep rolling.

  1. EmeryLee - Nov 8, 2012 at 11:49 PM

    Yep I agree with you. It did seem like OKC was just going through the paces tonight. I just wish the Bulls would have won that game. Oh well it’s early in the season.

  2. rickyspanish - Nov 9, 2012 at 1:00 AM

    No one can stop Durant? If I remember correctly, Miami stopped him four games in a row, when it counted. I know it’s been a whopping five months since it happened, but it still happened. This knee jerking needs to stop. Durant wins a game, he’s unstoppable, Kobe mad dogs his coach, he wants Mike Brown fired. Take a minute and put things in perspective for once, please.

    • D.J. Foster - Nov 9, 2012 at 1:09 AM

      Durant scored 36, 32, 25, 28 and 32 in his five Finals games. He shot well over 50 percent from the field in all but one game. Not sure that qualifies as stopping HIM four games in a row.

      • rickyspanish - Nov 9, 2012 at 2:11 AM

        Those are great numbers, but it still wasn’t enough. If he was this transcendent being you believe he is, then he should’ve overcame Miami’s defense by doing more than playing to his averages (which are great) while turning water into wine.

      • rtfinch - Nov 9, 2012 at 8:01 AM

        So because OKC didnt win, he was stopped? I dont see your logic, how do those numbers compare to “the greatest of all time” lebron james in his first final?

      • hehateme2 - Nov 9, 2012 at 8:48 AM

        The Heat stopped him when it counted. i.e. stopped from winning#

      • rtfinch - Nov 9, 2012 at 9:04 AM

        Oh I got you, the 30 he averaged doesn’t mean anything because he didnt do it “when it counted”. How did your superstar do in his first two finals “when it counted”

    • sprest83 - Nov 9, 2012 at 9:14 AM

      The Mavs and the Matrix stopped him in the conference finals.

  3. timb12 - Nov 9, 2012 at 1:11 AM

    Durant averaged 30+ points in the finals. He’s pretty good. He wasn’t the one who came up small during the finals.

  4. jerdogthompson - Nov 9, 2012 at 1:40 AM

    KD looked good down the stretch fo sure.

  5. dgbk - Nov 9, 2012 at 2:48 AM

    wait so he was suppose to avg 40 ,50 or 60 ppg…. the heat won wat more do u want? will u like it if ppl lied and say they shut durant down as well?? heat won because they were clearly the better team in the finals.

  6. southbeachtalent - Nov 9, 2012 at 9:29 AM

    The Bulls are weeeeeaaakk….

  7. asublimeday - Nov 9, 2012 at 10:26 AM

    The Bulls are weeeeeaaakk….
    ———

    Without their superstar player, they take the best team in the NBA to the closing seconds. Yeah, real weak. Don’t quit your day job.

    • zerole00 - Nov 9, 2012 at 10:38 AM

      Seriously, Rose was out most of last season and they still had the record record in the East.

    • southbeachtalent - Nov 9, 2012 at 1:47 PM

      weeeeaaaakk!!!

    • chicitybulls - Nov 9, 2012 at 2:24 PM

      Gotta love some fat ass bandwagoner sitting behind a keyboard who probably can’t beat 90% of the people reading or posting on this site and who thinks he knows what he’s talking about because he can play nba2k13 calling another team weak. God I love the internet.

  8. rickyspanish - Nov 9, 2012 at 2:43 PM

    Most of you misunderstood what I said. I don’t think I mentioned LeBron’s name either.

    • letangusespertplus - Nov 9, 2012 at 6:18 PM

      no we did, you’re just an idiot.

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