Kevin Durant focused on bigger things as next return to Oklahoma City nears
From NBA media reports
* Tonight on ESPN: Warriors vs. Thunder (8 ET)
In his first game back to face the Oklahoma City Thunder last season, Kevin Durant was hardly given a warm reception. Boos, “cupcake” signs and taunts and some hard fouls marked the Golden State Warriors’ eventual 122-96 win that was marked by a 39-point effort from Durant that provided the last word.
Although tonight’s game against the Thunder in OKC should be full of more hostility toward Durant, the former Thunder star is focused on bigger things in his career than revenge. Mark Medina of The Mercury News talked with Durant and others on his team about what’s driving him this season:
But while the Thunder has changed its team identity since Durant last faced them in Oklahoma City, Durant believes he has changed his personal identity. Durant may have inflamed his former team when he critiqued Thunder coach Billy Donovan and a lack of supporting staff in a tweet written in the third person.
And since then? Warriors forward Draymond Green summed up, “he’s just not worried about all the other stuff. He’s just playing basketball.”
And for a player mostly known for his offensive production through eight NBA All-star appearances and a regular-season MVP award, Durant has earned praise for his defense. Those categories range from his 2.2 blocks per game, one-on-one defense and helping on rotations.
“Last year was an extremely satisfying year for him, not only from a basketball sense, but from a personal level,” said Warriors assistant coach Ron Adams. “It’s a new environment, great area to live and a lot of things that factored into that. I think now he’s playing at a high level but he knows and we know he can play at a higher level.”
“I’ve been through everything in the league as an individual player,” Durant said. “All of those experiences has given me knowledge and insight on the game and what it’s about. My job is to go out there and learn and use what I applied to be a better basketball player.”
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