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Kevin Durant says Thunder won’t panic after Game 2 loss to Grizzlies

May 8, 2013, 3:23 PM EDT

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Durant is seen in the second half of their Game 1 NBA Western Conference semi-final playoff basketball game against Memphis Grizzlies in Oklahoma City Reuters

Kevin Durant was brilliant in the Thunder’s Game 2 loss to the Grizzlies on Tuesday, just as he was in his team’s win in the first game of the series on Sunday. His consistency through the first two games of the series, despite the varying results, was likely the reason for the calm demeanor he had on display during his postgame press conference.

Durant poured in 35 points in the Game 1 victory, 36 in the Game 2 loss. The only difference in the losing effort was Durant’s inability to take over in the final minutes, thanks to a concentrated effort defensively by the Grizzlies to take the ball out of his hands.

While fans in Oklahoma City may be freaking out at the prospect of losing home court advantage and now seeing their team have to head to Memphis for the next two games of the series, they can at least take some comfort in knowing that Durant remained supremely calm and confident immediately following the Game 2 loss.

From Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman:

Durant, much like he was after the Thunder’s Game 5 loss to Houston, was as cool as can be. He wasn’t worried. He didn’t get down. He still displayed supreme confidence and belief in his team. “Of course everybody’s going to panic because we lost the game. But that’s not what we’re going to do here. We’re just going to continue to keep getting better.”

The reality in this series is that neither team should panic based on the results of the first two games.

In Game 1, Mike Conley was completely ineffective in running the Memphis offense, and did little himself in terms of scoring or distributing to his teammates. His 13 points on 5-of-15 shooting with three assists against two turnovers were underwhelming to say the least, and the Grizzlies lost the rebounding battle, allowed Kevin martin to go off for 25 points off the bench, and let Durant walk into an uncontested pull-up jumper with the game on the line to win it for the Thunder.

All of that, and the Grizzlies still led that game the entire fourth quarter until Durant’s shot fell with 11 seconds left.

In Game 2, Conley was simply amazing, finishing with 26 points, 10 rebounds, and nine assists, while the Grizzlies won the rebounding battle by eight on the offensive end, and outscored the Thunder by 17 in second chance points. Memphis held Martin in check, although Derek Fisher did get loose for a very loud 19 points off the bench. And, Durant was held scoreless over the final three-plus minutes — a stretch where he went 0-for-3 from the field with a turnover when the game mattered most.

All of that, and the Thunder led by one with 2:41 remaining before the wheels eventually fell off.

There should be no panic from Durant and the Thunder heading into Game 3 in Memphis. There should be caution, however, considering Durant can only do so much for his team all by himself.

  1. patfic15 - May 8, 2013 at 4:06 PM

    No worries. Thunder will rebound next game. This series has 7 written all over it.

  2. lakerluver - May 8, 2013 at 4:19 PM

    Without Westbrook, KD looks a lot like LeBron looked in Cleveland. He’s gonna have to go 40-10-10 for the Thunder to have a shot in Memphis.

  3. mjfahy - May 8, 2013 at 5:43 PM

    It’s over for the Thunder, as Durant can’t carry this team. The Thunder were lucky on Game One, as while Memphis made plenty of mistakes, they were winning up to the last second. Remember Chris Paul’s last second shot in the prior series? Sure you do, after that win, the Griz took the next four games. This will be a learning experience for the Thunder, as they haven’t groomed a back up guard yet. In order to stay competitive, Durant going to have to play 40+minutes per game and after the last
    series, he can’t continue at this level.

  4. Mr. Wright 212 - May 8, 2013 at 5:47 PM

    They won’t win at the Grind House, so they better get that W in Game 5.

  5. 00maltliquor - May 9, 2013 at 1:37 AM

    Durant and co. should consider themselves lucky they aren’t 0-2, going back to Memphis.

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