The Norman Transcript

Local Sports

May 1, 2014

Thunder, Durant need sense of urgency to bring series back to OKC

(Continued)

MEMPHIS —

The two people facing the most pressure on Oklahoma City are soon to be named MVP Kevin Durant and coach Scott Brooks. Both have come under fire during the series. That includes some fans and media members saying Brooks’ job is on the line if the team is knocked out in the first round.

Despite that, Brooks is attempting to show a confident persona heading into the win-or-go-home contest.

“You have to win four games to win a series,” Brooks said. “They’re one game ahead of us right now. We have a great opportunity to go in there and play with a lot of confidence, a lot of composure and give ourselves a chance to win.”

The last time the two teams met in the “Grindhouse,” Oklahoma City escaped with a 92-89 overtime victory. But it wasn’t Durant who came to the rescue when the team needed it. It was reserve third-year guard Reggie Jackson.

Yet, with the Thunder on the brink of elimination, it’s times like this that superstars show why they are superstars. The likes of Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Shaquille O’Neal, Michael Jordan, Kobe Braynt and LeBron James have all been in situations like this and found a way to will their team to victory.

So far this postseason, Durant has not been able to raise his game to his own standards.

Twice in this series alone, Durant has had last second shots that could have won games for the Thunder and put an end to the series. But he missed both, along with missing more than half the shot attempts he’s taken in the five games. He’s shooting 40 percent from the field and 28.6 percent on 3-pointers.

Now that the pressure has been heaped on his shoulders, what Durant will do is the biggest question that needs answering.

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