Kevin Durant finished the regular season hitting half his shots and is the youngest 3-time NBA scoring champ ever and the first player to win three straight scoring titles since Michael Jordan.
So it’s not like KD has been stinking up the joint all season but there’s no question he is in a shooting slump (15-for-44) in this series with the Mavericks. He’s still gotten his points because he’s been able to get to the free throw line, he’s pulled down a bunch of rebounds too.
But when you’re the scoring champ people expect you to hit your shots not hit the skids, trouble is when the shots all of a sudden don’t fall there’s not much you can do about it.
Maybe shoot a few more shots in practice, but Durant already takes a ton. Maybe watch film closely see if anything has changed with the shooting stroke, but again Durant already does that too.
So maybe it shouldn’t have been surprising when the big man walked over to reporters after practice with his head down and no smile on his face. He knew what was coming and come it did, not with the first question but the second. And not a fastball high and tight that he had to duck away from but one a little more out over the plate that he could take a swing at, ‘Fish says no one remembers stats just who wins and who loses so even though you haven’t had your two best games shooting the ball does it make things easier that your team has still won?’
But Durant, still clearly not in the best of moods and maybe wondering himself what has gone wrong, kept his head down and said softly, “yeah that’s what it’s all about,” then he raised his head and looked around at all of us looking at him, “that’s why I’m a winner and I wanna be that guy that wins games and you know I’m not shooting the ball well but I’m just trying to do other things. You can’t dwell on the last two games you just gotta move on, gotta move on.”
Durant has had bad games before, even two or three in a row but he’s avoided prolonged slumps and likely will again.
The Dallas matchup zone and Shawn Marion’s individual defense on Durant usually gives him some problems. But the Mavs now have more to worry about than Durant and there’s been some talk that Marion might be asked to switch onto Russell Westbrook, nothing else has worked the Mavs figure so why not?
Durant has had two solid days of practice in Oklahoma City and today’s shoot-around in Dallas, plus lots of film study to work things out. The guess is that he has and it will show up on the stat sheet tonight.
“We just gotta stick to what we’ve been doing,” Durant said, “playing defense and playing together and hopefully I knock down some shots.”
Scott Brooks didn’t sound too concerned about his 3-time All-Star.
“He’s fine, Kevin’s fine,” he stressed, “he’s a terrific player who works hard and works hard on his game. We’re gonna keep running the offense through him. He’s getting good looks, Marion’s done a good job on him but he’s getting good looks. He’s just gonna keep working on the things that have made him a great player in the first place.”
And like Fisher said it’s all about the wins and losses.
“His shots will fall, he’s the number one scorer in the league,” he said and then pointed out again, “people don’t remember field goal percentages and how many turnovers you had and who made however many shots, they just remember who won and who lost and that’s what we have to continue to think about, not about our individual games.”
And right now when it comes to winning and losing the Thunder is on the high side of that equation.