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Kevin Durant wants to see his teammates cut, move if Chris Paul is put on him again

May 13, 2014, 2:07 PM EST

Oklahoma City Thunder v Los Angeles Clippers - Game Four Getty Images

Kevin Durant is going to get flack from some of you for this, but he is right to a large degree.

Down 16 in the fourth quarter Sunday the Clippers went with an ultra-small lineup (three guards and Blake Griffin as center) and asked Chris Paul to guard Kevin Durant. The Thunder understandably wanted to exploit that. In theory Durant should be able to shoot over the top of CP3 all day long. But in reality two things happened — the Clippers brought a quick, aggressive double to Durant on those plays. Second, everybody else on the Thunder stood around and watched Durant get doubled. Their offense became stagnant. The Clippers came back to win.

Speaking with the media Monday, Durant said it would take a team effort to break down that Clippers’ defense.

Here is what Durant said, via Jeff Caplan at NBA.com.

“Everybody keeps saying Chris Paul guarding me. It wasn’t just Paul,” Durant told reporters following the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Monday practice back at their training facility. “He’s physical, he’s smaller than me, of course it was harder when little guys get up under you. But they’re not just going to let Chris Paul play me one-on-one. That’s a team game. Basically they got three guys watching me, got a guy behind me so when I caught it they double-teamed as soon as I caught it, and when they didn’t double-team, I scored.

“So people always got something to say about the one-on-one match-ups, which never happens in this league, especially with me. I got to figure out ways to cut harder and make harder movements because if they’re going to put two guys on me than my teammates are going to be open.”

He’s right to a degree (although Durant seemed at points to be passive in this situation as well, he’s not blameless). This is not the first time teams have gone with a smaller defender on Durant — last series 6’4″ Tony Allen was on Durant for Memphis. What is different is the hard double teams, that the Thunder did not respond to.  This is a team thing for the Thunder, and their ability to play consistently with one another and not just next to one another has been one of the question marks about this team.

More from Durant, via Royce Young at Daily Thunder.

“We’ve got to move it. We can’t just sit there and try and force it to me,” Durant said. “Because that’s what they want me to do. They want those guys to front and get up under me. Once we pass it, they’re coming for a double-team and we’ve got to pass out and that’s when we make plays. By the time we just sit there and force feed it down, time is running off and when it’s time to pass out of it there’s two or three on the shot clock. So I’ve got to move around a little more and not demand the ball when there’s two guys guarding me. Just make the defense move.”

What putting guards on Durant does is take away his ability to drive (CP3 is quick enough to get where Durant wants to go first and has the hands to strip the ball if it comes down low). But Durant has advantages too. When the double comes the Thunder should be two or three passes away from a good look (watch the Spurs’ offense for examples). OKC didn’t do that, they stalled out and watched. Then they got frustrated. Then they carried that frustration over to the defensive end of the court and started gambling on steals and not taking away drives to the basket, the Clippers got to the rim at will in the fourth quarter.

This is all very correctable for the Thunder, play smart and they should rip apart the gimmick small lineup the Clippers threw at them. If they can’t then they deserve what is coming their way, which would be a playoff exit in the second round. And a whole lot of questions.

  1. rrhoe - May 13, 2014 at 2:44 PM

    Right on point,too bad the coach didn’t address this also.

    • spursareold - May 13, 2014 at 2:45 PM

      Brooks is an empty suit.

      • adamsjohn714 - May 13, 2014 at 6:42 PM

        It’s like an awful young adult novel. High school kid given the reins of an NBA team.

    • nflcrimerankingscom - May 13, 2014 at 3:52 PM

      That’s funny, I have the same complaints when I post up folks in a pick up game. Double team comes – I’m yelling “CUT”. (crap maybe I act like Lance Stephenson).

      Most rec ballers don’t get it. Much sadder to see it on an elite NBA team.

  2. spursareold - May 13, 2014 at 2:44 PM

    The Thunder have no system, so they struggle with weirdness thrown at them. Their players are CONDITIONED to watch KD or Westbrick run ISOs.

  3. cheochida - May 13, 2014 at 2:59 PM

    CP3 is just too good a defender! Kevin is fine with the ball in his hands. The problem is CP3 doesn’t let him get it!

  4. antistratfordian - May 13, 2014 at 2:59 PM

    KD is sounding a little arrogant here, but that’s his prerogative. And he’s pointing fingers when he should be looking in the mirror. He had 8 turnovers last game, but he has always been known as a turnover machine (no one has more 5+ turnover games over the last three seasons) – and he isn’t the only scorer who gets doubled – so take better care of the ball next time instead of blaming your teammates for not moving.

    • asimonetti88 - May 13, 2014 at 3:05 PM

      you must not have watched the game

      • antistratfordian - May 13, 2014 at 3:25 PM

        Durant’s last two turnovers in the 4th quarter were simply rushed, poor passes that he forced when he saw the double coming. That’s not his teammate’s fault – that is his fault.

        His three turnovers in the 4th led directly (and immediately) to 6 points for the Clippers, who only won by 2.

        So KD can blame his teammates if he wants, but he should be looking in the mirror.

      • antistratfordian - May 13, 2014 at 3:28 PM

        KD’s last two turnovers in the fourth quarter were rushed poor passes that he forced when he saw the double team coming. That is not his teammates fault. That is his fault. He needs to take better care of the ball.

  5. cheochida - May 13, 2014 at 3:07 PM

    KD’s ego is hurting……… haha.

    Go Clippers!

  6. void96eater - May 13, 2014 at 3:09 PM

    The question is, if they cut, will he able to get an accurate pass to them?

    8 turnovers doesn’t really help his case.

  7. azarkhan - May 13, 2014 at 3:11 PM

    If this continues, the Spurs will guard Durant with 5’11” Patty Mills.

  8. mrlaloosh - May 13, 2014 at 3:27 PM

    That picture is more intimate than the Michael Sam kiss.

    • brookwell2013 - May 13, 2014 at 4:44 PM

      Hahahahaah!! Funny mrlaloosh! KD’s teammates have to recognize what is going on (with the double team and CP3 guarding KD) and move and cut….KD is right…

  9. sportsnut101 - May 13, 2014 at 3:51 PM

    This were coach has to yell or tell his players to move
    I hate when its Westbrook dribble for 22 seconds then hand to durant

  10. borderline1988 - May 13, 2014 at 4:16 PM

    I thought it had more to do with giving Durant the ball face-up at the top of the key with CP right under him. Durant was too far away from the basket to play with his back to the bastket, too far away to just rise and shoot, and CP would just strip him immediately if he tried to dribble the ball.

    What the hell was that? There’s a smaller player on him, give him the ball further out so he can attack Paul, and even if Paul can stay with Durant, he can’t guard the pull-up jumper. Or run him around a screen and force someone else to switch. Better yet, give Durant the ball on the move so he can dribble before Paul gets there. Or get him the ball in an area where Durant can play with his back to the basket and throw some up-fakes at the smaller defender.

    CP has no chance of guarding Durant on the move, because Durant can rise up and hit jumpers as if there was no defense at all.
    Scott Brooks NEEDS to be more creative in this situation. He has 2 of the best offensive players in the game, both of whom should be CAUSING mismatches, not the other way around

  11. paleihe - May 13, 2014 at 4:24 PM

    Muggsy Bogues would lock Durant down!

  12. drunkenjunk - May 13, 2014 at 5:43 PM

    They have to fire Scott Brooks at the end of the season if they ever hope to win anything.

  13. sportsfan18 - May 13, 2014 at 7:23 PM

    Yo Kev…

    Just shoot OVER him…

    You’re in shooting range once you’re a few feet past half court and Chris Paul couldn’t block your shot with a ladder…

    • ebecks34 - May 14, 2014 at 12:09 PM

      Amen brother, amen.

  14. ranfan12 - May 13, 2014 at 8:10 PM

    lol this was what i was saying about kobe. they’ll pass him the ball and stand there waiting for him to bail them out instead of cutting and getting open

  15. kingsberry_j - May 13, 2014 at 8:21 PM

    Jeff Caplan doesn’t know the difference between “then” and “than.”

  16. zoomy123 - May 13, 2014 at 8:40 PM

    Kevin Durant gets a pass for everything. The media never makes him take responsibility. Nothing is ever his fault. His team is down 2-1 to the Grizzlies and he shoots 5-21 for 15 points? It’s not his fault. He misses a clutch free throw? It’s Joey Crawford’s fault. He misses another clutch free throw during the Thunder collapse (like he’s been doing ALL post-season, which is why he’s shooting 79% from the line)? It’s not his fault. He doesn’t make accurate passes out of the double team, which lead to turnovers and Clippers points? It’s not his fault. When he was checking out of games that OKC was losing? It’s not his fault. OKC apparently NEEDS more offense: Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka, Caron Butler, and Reggie Jackson are not enough.

    You’re Kevin Durant, you’re the MVP of the league, you’re supposedly the second best player in the NBA…you don’t ALLOW your team to lose a 16 point lead on the road in the 4th quarter. If you want to see what an actual superstar does, take a look at what Lebron James did last night. Wade and Bosh checked out for almost the entire second half, but LBJ just kept carrying his team and trusting them.

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