Thunder Never Gave Up Nor Gave In, Now Moving On

Even Kevin Durant admitted there was a time during Wednesday’s thrilling Game 5 win over the Denver Nuggets that he thought things might be headed in a different direction.

“Yeah, we were down nine and they kept hitting shots and we couldn’t hit ours," he said. "Then I hit that three, I was off balance and it went in and that kind of pushed me over the top.”

That shot came with 3:23 left in the game and pulled the Thunder to within six, 91-85. Thunder fans who had been looking at each other and whispering,"uh-oh," for most of the fourth quarter suddenly were on their feet and roaring. You could feel the building shake and the game turn.

“Our crowd really won the game for us,” Durant told reporters after the game, “They really pulled us through when we were down in those final minutes. Shows how much we are blessed to be a part of this great city. This is only the first stop we have to keep moving and working.”

KD’s teammates could sense something special about to happen and they encouraged him to pick them up and carry them to victory.

“I really didn’t want to go back to Denver, it was cold and rainy there and their fans said some not so nice things to us so I didn’t want to have to go back. Nate (Robinson) and Royal (Ivey) told me to take the game over, ‘it’s your time,’ and Russ (Westbrook) told me, ‘this is what you do, now go do it.’ I just told myself I've got to get us going.”

Durant scored 14 points on 5-for-6 shooting in the final three and a half minutes but his teammates held the Nuggets to just 1-for-6 shooting during that same time, the only basket a tip-in by Kenyon Martin. The rest of the six points Denver scored down the stretch came at the free-throw line. The Thunder blocked five shots in the last 3:41, three by Serge Ibaka, who had nine in the game, and one each by James Harden and Durant.

“There’s so many guys that made big plays for us,” said Thunder Head Coach Scott Brooks. “Serge had all those blocks and those were all layups or dunks he saved and his rebounding (eight) was great. Perk did an incredible job on Nene (eight points, 3-for-9 shooting), James hit a big shot to tie it up. We just kept running and running. A lot of guys stepped up.”

And they did that because of what is very apparent, a strong never-say-die attitude.

“We just kept talking to the guys,” Brooks said. “One of the things we talked about was playing forward, playing hard and doing your job. Our guys did that. They didn’t give up. They haven’t done that ever. It’s not always pretty but the effort is always there.”

“Everybody did a great job of fighting through adversity,” Durant said, “Before the game Thabo (Sefolosha) and I talked about adversity and it showed (Wednesday night). We fought through it. It was not just one guy, everyone chipped in.”

It’s been a long journey in a short time for the Thunder going from 23 wins in the first season in Oklahoma City to 55 just two seasons later and a spot in the second round of the Western Conference Playoffs.

“We’ve come a long way,” Durant admitted, “from almost the worst team ever a couple years ago to where we are now, but we've got to keep going.”