4 min read

Monday Bolts – 5.9.16

Monday Bolts – 5.9.16

Tim Bontemps of the WaPo: “Great, fantastic, amazing, spectacular, breath-taking –


name the adjective, it applied to Durant. He did it all: draining bombs from three-point range, hitting mid-range jumpers with a hand – usually one belonging to reigning two-time Defensive Player of the Year Kawhi Leonard – getting to the rim and the foul line and even finding his teammates, setting up both Randy Foye and Dion Waiters for crucial three-pointers. Durant had two eight-point runs in the fourth; one coming after the Thunder had tied the game at 85 with 10 minutes remaining that gave the Thunder the lead for good. The other came in the final three minutes, as Durant hit one ridiculous shot after another.”

Sam Amick of USA Today: “Yet the more pivotal part, the thing that could come into play when Durant reflects on this season and what it says about a potential future in this city, is that his supporting cast was stellar. Even with a five of 18 shooting night, Westbrook (14 points, 15 assists and a plus-18 rating) both led and defended in ways that simply didn’t happen in the Game 3 loss. Steven Adams, who at 23 years old is already one of the best defensive bigs in the league, had 16 points, 11 rebounds, and two blocks. Forward Enes Kanter, whose four-year, $70 million extension signed last summer was so controversial at the time in part because of his defensive shortcomings, got the nod over Serge Ibaka from coach Billy Donovan in the fourth quarter and played all 12 minutes of the period in which San Antonio hit just seven of 21 shots. What’s more, he rewarded Donovan with a nine-point, four-rebound final period (11 points, eight rebounds in all).”

Matt Moore of CBSSports.com: “If this sounds dramatic, it’s because that’s how it felt. The reality of Oklahoma City’s future in the event of a five-game Gentleman’s Sweep to the mighty Spurs was practically dripping from the ceiling at the Peake. It had shades of LeBron James’ Game 6 against the Celtics in 2010, the kind of frustrating end, complete with the star player’s individual struggles against a defense primed to stop him, that could drive Durant to somewhere he felt more confident in winning a title. Instead, Durant carried them, as he has so many times before, scoring 41 points. Seventeen points in the fourth quarter on a perfect 6 of 6 from the field. He was everywhere, hitting the tough runner on Kawhi Leonard, making a tough layup on a runout from Westbrook in transition, attacking David West in mismatches and hitting the kinds of shots that make him one of the game’s greats.”

Anthony Slater: “Seventy-two seconds into the most important quarter of this Thunder season — maybe in this franchise’s history, considering the looming free agency stakes — Randy Foye nailed a corner 3. The same Randy Foye who hadn’t played the two games prior. Thirty-one seconds later, from the opposite corner, Enes Kanter did the same. The same Enes Kanter who didn’t even attempt a 3-pointer his first three NBA seasons. Sports can be unpredictable. Those two shots were, as was the quarter in which they occurred. The Thunder entered down four and emerged with an emotional 111-97 Game 4 win, outscoring the Spurs 34-16 to tie the series 2-2 as it heads to San Antonio.”

Andrew Keh of the NY Times: “The restaurant itself is situated just a few blocks from the team’s arena. Memorabilia from Durant’s career dots its walls. At a news conference at the start of the restaurant’s construction, Durant elicited laughter when he said, “If somebody has a complaint, I’ll try to go in the back in the kitchen and help fix it, if I can.” Oklahoma City has never seemed like an obvious place for a major professional sports franchise, but Durant, 27, who lives downtown, has fit in here about as well as any global sports superstar could. Anyone asked to elucidate his local standing will often point to the $1 million donation he made to the American Red Cross in 2013 the day after a tornado devastated Moore, an Oklahoma City suburb. Durant, who was in Minneapolis at the time, had Smith deliver the check to the local Red Cross office.”

Jenni Carlson: “Dion Waiters grabbed Kevin Durant’s hand and pulled him into a hug. It nearly knocked Durant off his feet. In the final moments of Sunday night’s game, the Thunder superstar was dead-dog tired. He played nearly every minute of the game. He scored 41 points and defended out of his mind and gave great effort seemingly every moment he was on the court. He made sure this wasn’t the last Thunder game in Oklahoma City this season.”

Berry Tramel: “But the Thunder’s four big men — Durant, Ibaka, Adams, Kanter — are averaging 60.2 points a game and shooting 55 percent from the field. The Spurs’ frontcourt is formidable, too, if you count Leonard, which you do on offense but not always on defense. The Spurs’ five big men are averaging 68.1 points a game and shooting 51 percent from the field. San Antonio’s frontcourt includes two stars, one who after two games in this series was producing historically great numbers. If the Thunder can play the Spurs’ frontcourt to a draw, Westbrook’s eventual production might be enough to lift OKC.”