Kevin Durant on Game 7: 'We can't feel sorry for ourselves'

ByRoyce Young via ESPN logo
Monday, May 30, 2016

OKLAHOMA CITY -- A day after a demoralizing Game 6 loss to the Golden State Warriors, Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder were back on the practice floor and noticeably upbeat as they look forward to Game 7 on Monday in Oakland.

"If we walk in here like it's a funeral, we've already lost." Kevin Durant told reporters on Sunday. "Nobody walked in like that. We can't feel sorry for ourselves. They aren't going to feel sorry for us, and whoever's covering the game, fans, nobody's feeling sorry for us. It's just a part of basketball. Guys walked in here are really confident. We're upset we lost, but we let that go and we've got to get ready for Game 7."

The Thunder held an eight-point lead to start the fourth quarter in Game 6 on Saturday, and were up seven with five minutes to go. Behind a historic shooting performance from Klay Thompson and some stingy defense, the Warriors outscored the Thunder 19-5 in the final five minutes to force a decisive seventh game.

Durant, who finished 10-of-31 from the floor, has struggled in the series, hitting just 40.9 percent of his shots. In the fourth quarter of Game 6, he went 1-of-7 for four points.

"If shots go in, cool. But that wasn't the sole reason we lost the game," Durant said. "We were still in the game no matter how bad I was shooting. It's just a part of the game. I just keep playing. If I let that affect other parts of the game, then that's when I would say I played a terrible game. Shooting-wise, I was bad. But the energy and effort and leadership and all that stuff was there."

"On the offensive end, you don't have to worry about me because I'm a professional scorer and I know how I've been doing this for so long," he said. "I'm not saying I'm going to have a great game every night or I'm going to shoot well every night, but I tend to figure things out on the offensive end."

Durant did concede, though, he might need to keep his emotions in check better in Game 7. Asked if his shooting struggles could be due to wanting it too much, he said, "I mean, who wouldn't? Who wouldn't? I think it's OK to want it so much.

"I think sometimes you want to calm down a bit because you want something so bad," he continued. "It's difficult to really talk about because it's something that I've been feeling. It's like you've been dreaming about this moment since you were a kid. You've been wanting this moment since you were a kid. That's all that's been talked about is playing in the big games in the playoffs. I think that it's OK to want it so bad. But at the same time, I've just got to relax a bit."

The Thunder faced fourth-quarter troubles in the regular season, losing a league-high 14 games when leading going into the fourth quarter. That issue appeared to be fixed in the playoffs, as the Thunder used strong closing quarters to eliminate the Spurs and to take Game 1 in Oakland against the Warriors.

However, in Game 6, the Thunder turned the ball over six times in the final five minutes and got only one basket, from Andre Roberson on a putback. Coach Billy Donovan said the offense "stagnated," but in terms of corrections, Durant said the team didn't even watch film of Saturday's game.

"We didn't look at video," he said. "We know all about this team, like I said yesterday. We know all about this team. We know what we have to do. It's just a matter of us going out there and playing with extreme effort and leaving it all out there and feeling confident that we can go in there and get this done. I think all the guys feel confident."

After winning back-to-back home games by a combined 52 points, the Thunder held a commanding 3-1 series lead. The Warriors won Game 5 at the Oracle Arena in Oakland and took Game 6 in OKC. Only nine teams in NBA history have completed a comeback from a 3-1 series deficit, but home teams are 100-24 in Game 7s. Teams that lost Game 6 at home are 12-24 all time in Game 7.

"We're really excited about this," Donovan said. "We lost Game 6, and it was a tough, hard-fought game. We're disappointed about not having a different outcome. But we haven't lost the series, and we have an opportunity again. I think just being around these guys, they're a resilient group. I think they're looking forward to getting prepared today and shootaround tomorrow and getting ready to play."

The Thunder were visibly shaken and dejected after Game 6, but Durant said the emotions won't linger and carry over to Game 7.

"It's definitely exaggerated, especially when you play in the NBA so long and you know how much of a marathon it is," he said. "Of course we're up 3-1, and we go home for Game 6, we want to win that game. That's a huge game. You think you should win it. But at the same time, you take an L, and it's going to see what you're made of. You're going to test your character.

"We've been tested all season," he said. "We've been tested since I've been here. We never let anything linger over or bleed over into the next day. That's the motto we always have, even in a regular season. We lose a game, we move on. We win a game, we move on. The playoffs is no different. It's on a bigger scale because you play the same team over and over. But we've got to move on and get ready for the next one."

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