John Hollinger writing on how defenders like to hold KD: “That seems terribly puzzling at first, unless you watched what took place off the ball. Oklahoma City had plays designed for Durant to get the ball from Westbrook, but he never get anywhere near it thanks to opponents’ strategy of walling him off the ball in those situations, using superior strength to prevent Durant from breaking free. “At the end of the game they like to hug Kevin,” said Westbrook, “and grab and hold him, so sometimes I have to be able to create a shot for myself if Kevin can’t get the ball. I definitely try to get it to him but when I can’t I have to get a shot myself.” Durant, for all his offensive skills, is one of the weaker players at his position physically, and that’s something opponents try to take advantage of by muscling him away from the play.”
Chris Tomasson for NBA.com: “Not if Martin’s advice continues to work for Nene. Martin, who arrived in Denver in 2004, and Nene, who showed up as a rookie in 2002, are by far the two Nuggets with the longest continuous tenures. “They can’t guard him,” Martin said of Nene. “He’s too quick, too strong. They might try to body him up. But he can go around them. But I don’t feel they can guard him. So the only thing they can do is frustrate him.” At least the “Beast” didn’t have that problem in Game 1.”
Scoop Jackson of ESPN.com: “So can a “college” team actually win an NBA championship? Without making too much out of one win, the answer is: Most definitely. And one of the differences between the Thunder team in these playoffs and the one that showed up here this time last year is that it knows it now. Now, can they show it and prove it to the 15 other teams left standing? With every game, can they generate more fear? Brooks said during the game Sunday that the key is making stops and making 3s. He realizes for this team, it’s really just that simple. He knows just how good the Thunder really are, not just how good they can be. The anti-Heat, that’s what they were called in a recent GQ story. Who are we to disagree? The lightning has already struck. And once that happens, we all know what follows.”
Numbers for the Thunder on TV. Not bad, but not great either.
In this week’s Sports Illustrated poll, 166 NBA players were asked, “Who do you want shooting with the game on the line?” Kobe Bryant led the way with 74 percent, followed by the Kevin Durant (8 percent), Dwayne Wade (3 percent) and then Ray Allen and Dirk Nowitzki with 2 percent each.”
Darnell Mayberry on Denver possibly doubling Durant: “As Durant struggled before our eyes, many observers called for the coaching staff to revert to simply running him off screens. That strategy, after all, was always when Durant was at his best. But he never would have blossomed into a complete player that way. Never would have reached his full potential. Because of those growing pains, Durant is now able to shred Denver in Game 2 if the Nuggets do send a nightly dose of double teams.”
Remember the weird scene at the end of a Thunder-Suns game where two Phoenix players got tossed? Well, the NBA has fined both the ref and Zabian Dowdell for it.