Durant not to Blame for Thunder Early Exit
The Oklahoma City Thunder lost Wednesday’s elimination game against the Memphis Grizzlies, 88-84. Kevin Durant had 21 points on 5-for-21 shooting and missed a shot in the final seconds that would have tied the game.
It will be very tempting for fans and pundits to blame Durant, to question his ability to get it done in crunch time. However, this isn’t fair to Durant. It isn’t fair to the Grizzlies, who played an excellent series. And it especially isn’t fair to Russell Westbrook.
The loss of Westbrook has forced Durant to play with no consistent help on offense for the first time since the Thunder became a playoff team in 2010. The Durant we saw against Memphis was overworked and overstretched. The man who joined the 50-40-90 club (shooting 50% from the field, 40% from three-point range and 90% from the foul line) during the regular season had splits of 46.1-33.9-81.1 in the nine games the Thunder played without Westbrook.