It’s no big shocker that Kevin Durant seems ready for Game 3. The shocker would be if he didn’t seem ready. But there was a little something different about him as he spoke with the media at shootaround Thursday morning.
Call it energy, call it excitement, call it anticipation — it was all there. Durant seemed really geared up, engaging questions, talking with an extra level of energy. It was so obvious that one reporter even said to Durant, “Sounds like you’re ready to go.”
“I am,” Durant said.
Maybe one reason is because KD’s going to get a little extra put on him in Game 3, a game that’s probably the biggest in his young NBA career. A night after Rajon Rondo played all 48 minutes plus five minutes of overtime, Durant said he’s ready to do the same.
“I could play two games in one day,” he said. “That answers your question.”
Scott Brooks was peppered with questions about matchup adjustments, changes and other considerations. When asked if he’d consider letting KD or Russell Westbrook go the whole way, he said, “Geez, were you in our meeting? Yes, we’ve thought of that also.”
In Game 2 Durant played 42 minutes with Westbrook going 41. But both were sitting during a key five-minute stretch in the second quarter where the game started to get away from the Thunder. Obviously down 0-2, the Brooks and the Thunder aren’t going to leave anything on the table for Game 3.
“Everybody’s writing us off, so we know that,” Durant said. “But we’re going to come out playing with a lot of heart, playing with a lot of fight and we’ll live with the results.”
Durant said the team has thought back to their first playoff series where they fell behind the Lakers 0-2 but won the two next games at home to even it up.
“Well that’s the plan,” he said. “That’s the plan.”
Clearly adjustments will need to be made and as both Durant and Brooks said, the team simply has to play better. Against the Spurs, there’s no room to not be great. Give them an inch and they’ll make you pay. Having the game at home is nice, but doesn’t guarantee anything. It’s about execution, energy, effort, focus and determination.
Things that judging by Durant’s attitude, the Thunder still have a lot of right now.
A few notes:
- Eric Maynor was on the practice floor doing some pretty aggressive shooting. Moving laterally, cutting a little, catching and shooting. Great to see.
- Brooks was asked if he’d consider using Thabo on Tony Parker. He answered, “Yes.” Then was asked if maybe Royal Ivey could be used. “Yes,” he said again. “I’m not abandoning anybody on our team,” Brooks said. “Good leaders don’t do that. I don’t consider myself a good leader, but I consider myself a leader of this team.”
- Brooks was asked about his legacy if OKC were to dig out of this hole: “That’s nothing that I consider. I don’t wake up hoping you guys think good things about me. It’s not like my wife and kids, I’m assuming they still love me. My dog is… fine with me. I care about how our guys play. That’s my only concern. It’s not me against Pop. He has four championships. Phil Jackson has 11. Does that mean they win every time? They do lose every now and then otherwise why coach? Those guys are great coaches. Pop is a great coach. I don’t look at myself in that class. I look at myself as a coach of this team trying to get better as a group.”
- Brooks was asked if Tiago Splitter was on the floor if he’d hack him again. “There’s a good chance.”
- Of note: Derek Fisher was on the last team that came back from an 0-2 deficit. It happened in 2004. Against? The Spurs.