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Westbrook Laughs At Question About Whether Curry Is 'Underrated' Defender

May 27, 2016 10:51 AM

After the Golden State Warriors defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 5 with Stephen Curry picking up several key steals, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook were asked if Curry is underrated as a defender.

Westbrook audibly laughed at the question that Durant then went on to answer after briefly pausing.

"I mean, getting steals, I don't know if that's just -- that's a part of playing defense, but he's pretty good, but he doesn't guard the best point guards," said Durant. "I think they do a good job of putting a couple of guys on Russell from [Klay] Thompson to [Andre] Iguodala, and Steph, they throw him in there sometimes. He moves his feet pretty well. He's good with his hands. But, you know, I like our matchup with him guarding Russ."

RealGM Staff Report

Tags: Golden State Warriors, Oklahoma City Thunder, NBA

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Roc Nation Ready To Be Kevin Durant's 'Guiding Light' In Free Agency

May 26, 2016 10:12 PM

While Kevin Durant will be a free agent for the first time in his career, his Roc Nation agency will also be having their first big NBA moment.

“We know this is a big deal and a big moment in his career,” said Rich Kleiman, Durant’s agent with Roc Nation. “We also have to be his guiding light in this. We can’t let the pressure of the situation be bigger than it is. Obviously, we understand all eyes are looking at him and looking at his decisions, and people want to see how we’re going to handle it, too.”

With the Thunder having an excellent playoff run, Durant is widely expected to re-sign with the Thunder.

Jay-Z played an active role in recruiting Durant to the agency but his day-to-day duties are nebulous.

Rick Maese/Washington Post

Tags: Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder, NBA, NBA Signing Rumor, NBA Misc Rumor

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Draymond Green: I Have No Doubt We'll Win Game 5

May 26, 2016 11:13 AM

Draymond Green is confident in the Golden State Warriors' chances of bouncing back to win Game 5 after losing in both Game 3 and Game 4 at the Oklahoma City Thunder in blowouts.

"This team, this group of guys, we haven’t been in an elimination situation [since 2014]. So it’s different," said Green. "But I also know this team knows how to lock in. I know this team knows how to play tough. I know this team knows how to play like our lives depended on it. And I have no doubt in my mind that we will win [Game 5]. No doubt about that. I absolutely expect to be back here and I look forward to it.”

Green has blamed himself for the Warriors' struggles.

"It’s no shocker to me that we’re down 3-1 because I haven’t been there for two games. I wish I had the answer [as to why]. I don’t have the answer. But I know I will change it. It’s not too late. That’s why it’s a seven-game series. They have to beat us to four [wins]. We go home. Take care of home court. Get something to feel good about. And then we battle. But we have to come out Thursday like our lives depend on it. I have no doubt in my mind that this team will respond."

Marc J. Spears/The Vertical

Tags: Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors, Oklahoma City Thunder, NBA

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Russell Westbrook Recommended Thunder Take Out Enes Kanter

May 25, 2016 4:12 PM

Russell Westbrook recommended the Oklahoma City Thunder take Enes Kanter out of the game midway through the second quarter of Game 4.

With Draymond Green shooting a pair of free throws, Westbrook walked over to the Oklahoma City bench. Westbrook first talked to Maurice Cheeks and then to Billy Donovan.

"Take him out," said Westbrook, referring to Kanter.

Donovan, after a brief consultation with Cheeks, went down the bench, called for Andre Roberson to come to the scorer’s table and removed Kanter from the game.

“I’ve tried to foster that kind of stuff because I think what happens a lot of times with players is a lot of times it may be, I don’t want them to feel like they can’t come to me,” Donovan said.

“I want Kevin and Russell and those guys that have been here and have invested so much to be able to communicate with me, and I want to be able to go to them.

“[One thing] I try to do is to get both parties to have ownership. You can sit here and say, ‘Do this, this and this,’ not explain it and say, ‘I’m the coach. It’s my way or the highway,’ and they’re not really bought into it and before you know it you’re never really maximizing what you can do together, so I try to create a situation where there’s accountability for both of us. We’re both on the hook.”

Kanter has been a liability for the Thunder on defense due to his inability to switch out on the Warriors' guards.

Tim Bontemps/Washington Post

Tags: Oklahoma City Thunder, NBA

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OKC's Own Death Lineup Has Net Rating Of +68.5 In West Finals

May 25, 2016 1:19 PM

Billy Donovan only gave 46 minutes during the regular season to a five-man unit of Serge Ibaka, Kevin Durant, Andre Roberson, Dion Waiters and Russell Westbrook.

But in the Western Conference Finals, it has become the Oklahoma City Thunder's version of a death lineup against the Golden State Warriors.

The lineup has a 139.8 offensive rating against a 71.3 defensive rating to give it a net rating of +68.5 points per 100 possessions. 

Roberson and Waiters have given the Thunder enough offense to make the Warriors' defend them while also being long enough to defend anyone on the other side of the floor.

Tom Ley/Deadspin

Tags: Golden State Warriors, Oklahoma City Thunder, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

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Stephen Curry 'Playing At 70 Percent, At Best'

May 25, 2016 10:11 AM

Stephen Curry has struggled in Games 3 and 4 of the Golden State Warriors' series against the Oklahoma City Thunder, not showing any of the explosion he had during his MVP season before injuring his knee.

"He's playing at 70 percent, at best," a source close to Curry said.

Curry has downplayed the injury in his comments to the media.

Privately, the Oklahoma City Thunder have seen how Curry doesn't have the ability to make the big men switching onto him pay a price.

Curry injured his ankle in Game 1 of the first round and then his knee when he returned in Game 4 slipping on a wet spot in Houston.

Adrian Wojnarowski/The Vertical

Tags: Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors, Oklahoma City Thunder, NBA, NBA Injury

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Russell Westbrook Was Offered Partial Academic Scholarship By Stanford

May 24, 2016 1:14 PM

Russell Westbrook was an honor student at Leuzinger High School and was accepted to Stanford and given a partial academic scholarship.

Westbrook says he probably wouldn't have gone because of the cost of tuition. Westbrook had some interest from Creighton and San Diego State but didn't end up on UCLA's radar until Jordan Farmar declared for the draft.

Westbrook's favorite subject in school was math.

Royce Young/ESPN

Tags: Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder, Stanford Cardinal, NBA

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Kevin Durant: We're A Better Team Now

May 24, 2016 11:35 AM

Kevin Durant returned from his multiple foot surgeries with a changed outlook. Russell Westbrook had emerged as an MVP candidate with Durant sidelined.

“I had to think the game differently,” Durant says. “How can I still be me without taking away from him? That was my challenge. I was used to having the ball in my hands all the time and scoring 35 points. Now we have all these other people—Russ, Enes (Kanter), Dion (Waiters), Serge (Ibaka)—and we’re a better team. So when I get shots, I have to be super-efficient. I can’t expend energy trying to dunk on people. I have to take every shot like it’s my last one, like it’s a game-winner.”

Durant averaged 28.2 points, 8.2 rebounds and 5.0 assists coming back from his injury. Durant also agreed to stagger his minutes with Westbrook.

“I was scared, I was worried,” Durant says. “Will I be back again? Will I be who I am? A year ago people were telling me my career might be over and I listened to that stuff, not because I’m sensitive but because I used it for fuel. I’ve always done that. When I was a sophomore in high school, I scored 28 points in my first varsity game, and I was feeling myself. They’re loving me right now! Then I got in the car afterward and my mom [Wanda] was like, ‘You didn’t do s---. You didn’t play well enough.’ I was like, O.K., cool. It was the same thing with the foot. The doubt feeds me.”

Lee Jenkins/Sports Illustrated

Tags: Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder, NBA

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Draymond Green Not Suspended For Game 4

May 23, 2016 7:13 PM

The NBA has decided not to suspend Draymond Green for Game 4.

Green kicked Steven Adams in the groin area after being fouled going up for a shot attempt.

Green also kneed Adams in the groin area in Game 2 when driving to the basket.

Sam Amick of the USA Today reports it will be a Flagrant 2 and a fine.

Adrian Wojnarowski/The Vertical

Tags: Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors, Oklahoma City Thunder, NBA, NBA Suspension

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Miami's Top Priority Is To Get Meeting With Kevin Durant

May 20, 2016 1:05 PM

The Miami Heat continue to plan on pursuing Kevin Durant in free agency.

The Heat are limited in how they can pursue Durant while re-signing Hassan Whiteside and Dwyane Wade where it would be virtually impossible.

"The plan is and always has been: Go after Durant and free everything up – so much so that you insulted your superstar this offseason by telling Dwyane Wade no on multiple years, even though that’s what he wanted," said Dan Le Batard. "Dwyane, who deserves more of your allegiances as business and a company and management than Chris Bosh does. Because the whole thing is get in a room with Durant after this season.

"What I’m telling you, no matter how much you laugh at it, is that the Heat is getting in the room with Durant. Now, what happens from there, who knows? But you can sit here and laugh at it all you want, but the plan, the construct is – the priority, the No. 1 thing this offseason – is get in the room with Durant.

"You do what you want with the information. All I’m telling you is priority No. 1 is not get Dwyane locked up, Whiteside locked up. No. 1 on the list is can you get the superstar that is the big get in free agency while also taking care of your people around that?"

Miami could have more cap space in 2017 should Durant re-sign with the Oklahoma City Thunder on a one-plus-one deal.

Dan Le Betard/ESPN (via Dan Feldman/Pro Basketball Talk)

Tags: Kevin Durant, Miami Heat, Oklahoma City Thunder, NBA, NBA Signing Rumor, NBA Misc Rumor

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Kevin Durant: Money Isn't Everything In This Life
Kevin Durant has never been a free agent in his career, signing an extension in 2010 with the Thunder.

Anthony Slater/Oklahoman

Spurs Preparing Offseason Pursuit Of Kevin Durant
Just as the Spurs did last offseason with LaMarcus Aldridge and in 2003 with Jason Kidd, they plan on pursuing Kevin Durant.

Marc Stein/ESPN

Harrison Barnes Not Taking Warriors' Likely Pursuit Of Kevin Durant Personally
Harrison Barnes and the Warriors were unable to agree upon an extension last offseason, which gives him some level of control.

Tim Kawakami/San Jose Mercury News

Kevin Durant Only Wants To Be Considered 7-0 Talking To Women
Kevin Durant says he's actually 6-11 but he prefers to be officially listed at 6-9 in the NBA.

Chris Herring/Wall Street Journal

NBA Lists Five Incorrect Non-Calls From Final Thunder-Spurs Play
The Thunder won the game 98-97 following one of the craziest finishes in playoff history.

ESPN

Kevin Durant: Having A Really Good Coach Probably Most Important Thing In NBA
Kevin Durant spoke highly of Gregg Popovich hours before the start of the Western Conference Semifinals.

Jeff McDonald/San Antonio Express-News

Thunder Defeat Mavericks 4-1, Will Face Spurs in Round Two
Thunder advance to face the San Antonio Spurs in the second round of the Western Conference Playoffs.

RealGM Staff Report

Russell Westbrook Fined $25,000 For Inappropriate Language Towards Fan
The NBA has fined Russell Westbrook $25,000 for "directing inappropriate language toward a fan" during Game 4.

Marc Spears/The Vertical

Kevin Durant Ejected From Game 4 Win, Will Not Be Suspended
Kevin Durant was ejected from Saturday's Game 4 after hitting James Anderson in the head on a block attempt.

Kurt Helin/NBC Sports

Kevin Durant Not Keen On Playing In Washington
Kevin Durant's lone visit to Washington this season was stressful, according to sources.

Chris Mannix/The Vertical

Monty Williams Attends Oklahoma City's Game 1
Monty Williams was also at Oklahoma City's practice before Game 1 on Friday.

Erik Horne/Oklahoman

Kevin Durant Endorses Scott Brooks To Get Another Chance In NBA
Scott Brooks was fired last season by the Thunder and he's now a candidate for the Wizards, Wolves and Kings.

Erik Horne/Oklahoman

Russell Westbrook Leads NBA In 'Grab And Go Buckets'
A "grab and go" is defined as either a player's own unassisted make or assists to teammates in seven seconds or less following a defensive rebound.

Seth Partnow/Nylon Calculus

LeBron James, Russell Westbrook Named Players Of The Month
LeBron James appeared in 14 games (10-4) and averaged 25.6 points on .538 shooting from the field, 8.2 rebounds, 7.1 assists and 1.1 steals in 34.1 minutes per game.

RealGM Staff Report

Stanley Johnson: No One Is Scared Of Playing Against Kevin Durant
Stanley Johnson said comments from Kevin Durant were "uncalled for" and said Durant "disrespected" the franchise.

Vince Ellis/Detroit Free Press

Serge Ibaka: It's Sometimes Hard Not To Be More Involved In Offense
Serge Ibaka's versatility is sometimes an underutilized part of Oklahoma City's offense.

Anthony Slater/Oklahoman

Kyle Lowry, Kevin Durant Named NBA's Players Of The Week
Kyle Lowry ranked fourth in East scoring last week averaging 27.2 points and led the NBA in fourth quarter scoring at 10.8 points.

RealGM Staff Report

Kevin Durant: Oklahoma City Is Home
Kevin Durant is frequently asked for his opinion on other cities this season as he approaches free agency, but he was asked about Oklahoma City during a fundraiser to benefit his foundation.

Royce Young/ESPN

Kevin Durant: We Love Each Other, Sometimes X's And O's Are Reason For Losses
Kevin Durant was clear in supporting his supporting cast with the Thunder.

Chris Mannix/The Vertical

Spurs Expected To Explore Pursuit Of Kevin Durant
San Antonio would have to figure out how to play Kevin Durant with Kawhi Leonard despite the fact they play the same position.

Chris Mannix/Sports Illustrated