Durant shows he's more than scorer

There's no doubting that Kevin Durant can score, but it took some convincing for the NBA's scoring champion to believe that he could really impact a game when his shots weren't going in.

But midway through last season, the Oklahoma City Thunder forward really bought into all the aspects of the game outside racking up points.

By Game 3 of the Thunder’s first-round playoff series against the Los Angeles Lakers, Durant had developed enough on the defensive end that he was asking to guard Kobe Bryant in the fourth quarter. He limited Bryant to 2-for-10 shooting while rediscovering his offense to lead the Thunder to a 101-96 win Thursday.

Durant shied away from the sudden defensive accolades leading up to Game 4 tonight.

“Kobe Bryant is the best player in the world, and some of those shots he missed just because he missed. Maybe two or three of the shots I made him miss,” said Durant, who leaped to swat away one Bryant jumper during Oklahoma City’s decisive 10-2 run.

The 6-foot-6 Bryant gives up nearly half a foot to Durant, who’s listed conservatively at 6-9.

“He’s long. He’s 7 feet. I don’t know that he wants to admit that he’s 7 feet but he’s 7 foot,” Bryant said. “He has great agility, great mobility and caught us all by surprise a little bit.”

Coach Scott Brooks said he’ll continue to rotate defenders against Bryant. Thabo Sefolosha, the OKC stopper, has logged the most minutes against Bryant. Forward Jeff Green and reserve James Harden have also guarded him.


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