LeBron wants Durant to shoot a lot

Kevin Durant, the scoring champ in question, has not played in an Olympics before. Like any newcomer, he wants to be liked. So time and again during the U.S. team’s brief time together this year, Durant has passed up the sort of open shots that he drills with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

“I told KD (Durant) to just be himself,” LeBron James said Sunday after Durant led the U.S. with 22 points and added nine rebounds in a game that was only close for one quarter. “On a team like this you can kind of shy away because there are so many great players here. But KD’s on this team for a reason. He’s one of the best players the world has and he’s a three-time scoring champ. So we don’t want the KD that defers. We want the KD that he is in Oklahoma City.”

James seemed determined to make that KD show up on Sunday. He threw the ball to Durant every time he could, passing up one open shot after another to get the ball to Durant. It was a bit ironic, considering that Durant and James went head-to-head in the NBA Finals this season when the Miami Heat defeated the Thunder.

– Reported by Scott Fowler of the Charlotte Observer