Archives For Kevin Durant

On July 27th, Paul Millsap was added to Team USA’s provisional roster due to players like Blake Griffin, Kevin Love, and LaMarcus Aldridge deciding to forgo participation in the FIBA World Cup this summer.

Little more than a week later, Millsap was announced as one of coach Mike Krzyzewski’s first round of cuts, along with Washington’s John Wall and Bradley Beal. Among those selected over Millsap were Denver’s Kenneth Faried and Brooklyn’s Mason Plumlee.

At the time, there was not too much of a problem with this. Even with Paul George’s gruesome injury, the lynchpin for Team USA seemed to be one thing: they still had Kevin Durant. The problem with this thinking today is that the team no longer has Durant to rely on.

It was announced on Thursday that Durant would withdraw from Team USA participation, citing mental and physical exhaustion. While there is some speculation that this might have something to do with Durant being offered a $300+ million endorsement deal with Under Armour, there is plenty of merit for Durant needing some time off. Continue Reading…

FINAL

OKC(36-10) 109 – 111 (23-21)ATL

Key Performers:
K. Durant (OKC): 41 pts, 4 reb, 5 ast, 2 stl, 3 blk
P. Millsap (ATL): 23 pts, 8 reb, 4 ast
[FULL BOX SCORE]

So… Kevin Durant just isn’t fair. The Hawks had a double-digit lead in this game, but as you may have heard, KD is NOT nice. Durant scored 13 points in the fourth quarter, including the game-winner, to give his Thunder a two-point win at home. The Hawks defended Durant well throughout the game, but the MVP-frontrunner was still able to connect with the bucket and light up the Hawks for 41 points. Still, a great effort from the Hawks — who were without Horford, Teague, and Pero Antic — against one of the best teams in the league.

Reaction grades [assessed 0-10]:

Paul Millsap: With about 35 seconds left or so, Millsap was called for a travel on a drive that probably would have resulted in a go-ahead bucket. Now the travel was a close call, but the bigger issues is that Millsap is getting called for this type of travel (moving his pivot before dribbling) about two times per game. Overall, he had a good game, but this play is becoming an issue for him and it can be argued that it cost the Hawks a victory. 8/10

DeMarre Carroll: DeMarre’s defense was great the whole night and he still got burned by Durant. *repeats unfair statement from opener* He could have been slightly more efficient, as his 7-for-14 performance from the field was littered with easy looks that didn’t go in. My advice to DeMarre is that maybe he should flop next time against Durant when he receives a two-armed push… maybe he’ll get a call then. 7.5/10

Kyle Korver: Strong 14 points, three-board, four-dime night from Kyle, as he extended his three-point streak to 113 games. I would have like to see him shoot the ball more late in the game, but the Thunder did a good job and keeping him from getting open looks when the game was on the line. 7/10

Shelvin Mack: Strong first half for Shelvin… not as strong of a second half. Still a good game overall, as he only turned the ball over one time, but he had a lot of trouble initiating offense in the fourth quarter against a swarming, Ibaka-led defense. 7/10

Gustavo Ayon: Great game from Ayon, who played an almost season-high 26 minutes. Goose had six points, 10 rebounds, and four assists in a strong effort, and it is possible that the Hawks could have used a little more of Ayon late in the game when the Thunder where making their fourth quarter run. 9/10

Continue Reading…

2012-13 Record: 60-22 (1st in West) z-thunder

Playoff Result: Lost in Second Round

Key Additions: Steven Adams (draft), Andre Roberson (draft)

Key Losses: Kevin Martin (free agency)

Projected 2013-14 Record: 57-25 (2nd in West)*

What to Expect: The Thunder have swiftly undergone a change in identity. At this point a year and a half ago, they were a dynasty in the making. Now? There are people who would be somewhat surprised if this team wins the NBA championship this year.

What’s changed revolves around Oklahoma City’s loss of James Harden and what they’ve gotten back for him. Kevin Martin filled a third-scorer role last year with precision shooting but is now in Minnesota. Jeremy Lamb could be primed for a breakout year, but for the most part the magnitude of his impending contributions are clouded. And finally, using the draft pick they picked up in the Harden trade, OKC selected Steven Adams with the 12th overall pick. Otherwise this team is just about the same as it’s previous few installments. Continue Reading…

RECAP: Hawks 104, Thunder 95

Bo Churney —  November 4, 2012 — 2 Comments

FINAL

OKC(1-2) 95   –  104 (1-1)ATL

Key Performers:

A. Horford (ATL): 23 pts, 12 rebs, 3 asts
K. Durant (OKC): 22 pts, 12 rebs, 8 asts, 3 stls
[FULL BOX SCORE]

Despite Josh Smith staying in Atlanta due to a sprained ankle, the Hawks were able to defeat the Oklahoma City Thunder thanks to the strong play of Al Horford, Lou Williams, and Jeff Teague. This is the Hawks’ second straight win over the Thunder.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Al Horford: This is why Horford needs to get more touches on offense. Al had 23 points on 11-19 shooting, and improved on his rebounding performance from the first game, grabbing 12 boards this time around. He also had three assists and no turnovers. 9/10

Lou Williams: For the second game in a row, Lou didn’t do much early, but took over in the fourth with 14 points in the final quarter. His shooting efficiency could use a boost, but he’s getting to the line, which is something Atlanta couldn’t accomplish at all last season. 7/10

Zaza Pachulia: Zaza had six assists, which is hilarious. He was a little sloppy at times, but kept on the glass and even had a nice fadeaway jumper when the shot clock was running down on him in the 2nd quarter. (well, it wasn’t pretty, but it went in) 7/10

Jeff Teague: He only played 26 minutes, but was practically flawless in those 26. He has 16 points on 7-12 shooting, five assists, and three steals. He also completely posterized Kevin Durant, which you’ll probably be able to catch on Top 10 plays if you missed it. 9/10 Continue Reading…

Josh Smith Out vs. OKC

Bo Churney —  November 3, 2012 — 1 Comment

smoove2

Well, this is unfortunate for the Hawks.

The Hawks are set to take on the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday, something they will now have to do without Josh Smith. The forward sprained his ankle in the the 109-102 loss to Houston, and did not make the trip to OKC earlier today.

The injury means that Zaza Pachulia will enter the starting lineup, moving Al Horford to the power forward position. With Johan Petro out, this leaves Ivan Johnson as the only other player on the bench capable of playing the center spot. 2nd round pick Mike Scott could also see his first action of the season.

The most damning part of this injury will likely be on the defensive end. Everyone knows about Smith’s defensive capabilities, but the Hawks were also most effective against Houston when playing Smith at the SF spot. Josh matching up against Durant might not have ideal, but certainly would have been a better option than Kyle Korver or Anthony Tolliver. Of course, some of the Continue Reading…