At one point during the second half of the Oklahoma City-L.A. Clipper showdown at Staples Center Tuesday night, Clippers TV analyst Mike Smith said “Kevin Durant looks like he’s on a mission.”
What was supposed to be a matchup of the two best teams in the NBA — although the Clippers were shorthanded without their leader Chris Paul — turned into a one-sided affair when Durant simply took over the game and seemingly made every shot he took in the second half en route to another 30-point night.
The Thunder cruised to an impressive 109-97 road victory thanks to Durant’s 32-point performance, including five of six 3-pointers. Durant keyed a 3-point barrage over a four-minute span in the second half, making three of them himself while Westbrook added one and Ibaka had another to extend the Thunder’s lead to 99-82 – their largest of the game.
Durant punctuated his incredible night when he crossed over Matt Barnes at the top of the circle and then exploded to the basket, soaring over Lamar Odom for a vicious slam dunk to make it 101-85. Watch the play:
“We knew Chris Paul was out, but we knew Eric Bledsoe was playing well,” Durant told NBA TV. “We didn’t want to take them lightly without Chris Paul. They’re bench is so great, we just want to come out and play hard.”
Durant added: “I just had to slow down and figure out how the defense was playing me. They did such a great job of trapping me on pick-and-rolls, loading up on the side I was on. I just tried to be aggressive.”
NBA TV’s Chris Webber asked Durant how a player like him, who is nearly 7 feet tall, can handle the ball and shoot the ball so well.
Durant responded by saying it’s all practice.
“It’s all about repetition every single day. It may get boring but I keep working on the same things everyday. I get good shots up, work on my ball handling, and work with my coaches everyday. And watch film because half of this game is mental. You have to know how teams are playing you.”
Work on your jump shot, kids.