- 45 Calif. students at one school test positive for tuberculosis exposure
- Rob Ford on women: Give them cash ‘and they are happy’
- Ku Klux Klan group holds recruitment meeting in Maryland
- Airport assassination: Mayor, 3 others killed at Manila airport
- Tea party-type lawmakers take mysterious, off-books trip to Mideast
- North Korea warns South: We’ll attack ‘without warning’
- Congress sends sweeping defense bill to Obama
- Multiple injuries as balcony collapses at London’s Apollo theatre during performance
- Egypt rights center raided, 2 Mubaraks acquitted
- New Mexico Supreme Court rules same-sex marriage constitutional
Kevin Durant puts up the points while deflecting praise
Question of the Day
SAN ANTONIO — Kevin Durant sat quietly in the visitors’ locker room, his head down and his eyes closed, a pair of oversized headphones on his ears. It was less than two hours before the Oklahoma City Thunder would face the San Antonio Spurs in the pivotal Game 5 of the Western Conference finals, and the D.C. native was the very picture of the calm before the storm.
Durant and Oklahoma City would win a down-to-the-wire contest 108-103 for a 3-2 series lead. The Thunder silenced many of the critics who predicted that the more-experienced Spurs would roll over them, especially after San Antonio won the first two games decisively.
“He’s always a threat,” Spurs guard Manu Ginobili said of Durant. “It’s so easy for him to score, that whenever you blink, he can get seven, nine points in a minute. We saw what happened in Game 4. We know what kind of talent he has. He’s either the best player in the world or he’s in the top three or five.”
Durant, possibly the most humble superstar in the NBA, almost blushes at such praise, not that he hasn’t become used to hearing it.
“He’s a talented player, but he works extremely hard,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. “He works like he has no talent. He works hard every day, just to try to make the team. That’s his mindset, and that’s how he’s improved in the last five years.”
During those five seasons, Durant has compiled a list of accolades that would be the envy of any 10-year veteran - three-time scoring champion, Rookie of the Year (2008), three-time All Star, three-time All-NBA first team, All-Star MVP (2012).
But what seems to fuel Durant even more than myriad individual honors is team success and knowing that Monday’s win increased the Thunder’s chances of winning the NBA championship this season. The Thunder will attempt to close out the series Wednesday night at home.
“We never thought that we were supposed to wait our turn,” Durant said. “We always wanted to go and take every game. Coach [Brooks] always emphasizes that every opportunity when you step on that floor is a great opportunity to get better and grow and fight toward our dream. We just have to keep pressing. We have a long way to go, still.”
Five wins is exactly how long they have to go in order to win the Larry O’Brien Trophy. But for Durant, the best part of that journey is the people he shares it with.
Durant’s mother, Wanda Pratt, is a regular at Thunder games, and Durant is often seen giving her a kiss after games. Raised by Pratt and his grandmother, Barbara Davis, Durant’s family is always uppermost in his mind - even while he’s chasing his first NBA title. On Monday, it was his Uncle Tyrone who occupied his thoughts.
“My uncle is in the hospital, and I wanted to win this game for him,” Durant said. “He’s a little sick right now, and all I can say is I just wanted to win for him tonight. He’s been watching me ever since I was a kid, and it was weighing heavy on me, so I just wanted to play my hardest for him.”
“Well, I appreciate that, but he’s [Popovich] trying to fire up his team as well,” Durant said. “Popovich has been around for a long time, and I really appreciate that, but I’ve just got to keep pressing and keep getting better to where I want to be.”
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Carla Peay keeps you up to date on the Washington Wizards and the NBA.
- John Wall’s practice session includes contact
- Chris Singleton falls out of Wizards' rotation
- Wizards can't sustain solid start, fall to Mavericks
- Kevin Seraphin gets some tough love from his 'big brothers'
- Wizards' Randy Wittman desires healthier team in 2013
Latest Blog Entries
By Michael P. Orsi
Edward Snowden should declare his patriotism in court
- Citing 'unfair system,' Obama commutes sentences for 8 crack offenders
- Huge backlash mounts over suspension of 'Duck Dynasty' star Phil Robertson
- Homeland Security helps smuggle illegal immigrant children into the U.S.
- Gov't wasted $30 billion on 'pillownauts,' crystal goblets -- buying human urine!
- Deportations under Obama plunged to just 1 percent last year
- Sebelius adds yet another exemption for Obamacare
- PRUDEN: 'Tis the season for apologies
- EDITORIAL: Red faces at the White House
- Obamacare 'pajamas boy' gets roundly mocked
- Bill Gates: The Secret Santa disguised as a 'friendly fellow' on Reddit
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Southern Fried Politics from the Lens of a Persian-American Millennial
All of the world’s problems, solved on your back porch
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow