Kevin Durant interview before NBA Finals Game 4
The Oklahoma City Thunder trail the Miami Heat 2-1 in the best-of-7 NBA Finals. Game 4 is Tuesday night in Miami. Here's what Thunder star forward Kevin Durant said in an interview with the media on Monday, June 18:
Question: All playoff run you guys have done a good job of spacing the floor, moving the ball and getting high percentage looks. What do you guys need to do to get those open shots?
Kevin Durant: We just need to move the ball better. This team, they trap a lot and bring shooters in the corners and leave guys open, so we've got to make those passes. Easier said than done, though. They do a great job of using their hands and making it tough on the passer. We've just got to make sure we make strong on target passes to the right spot, and we've got to rely on the shooter to finish it. We've just got to continue to do a better job.
Question: What do you know about Bob McAdoo? And can you talk a little bit about Maurice Cheeks, and how he might have filled you in or brought you together with McAdoo?
Durant: Well, that's before my time a little bit, but I heard a lot of stories about Mac, and how great a player he was. People compare me to him. He had such a great career that it's a little too early for that. Hopefully I can be as good a player he was.
Coach Mo Cheeks, he was the first guy to tell me that me and him have similar games. Hopefully I can be as good as he was.
Question: In terms of the foul trouble that you got in, your assignment in taking on LeBron, we hear scorers all the time talk about the energy that gets devoted to that. Is there anything you can do on either front, either with fouls or keeping yourself fresh if that assignment doesn't change?
Durant: Well, I always want to be a guy that does it on both ends, a two way player, and that's what you have to do on both ends is play hard as you can. That's what I'm trying to do. LeBron is a tough guy to guard. Everybody knows it. But I'm going to play my hardest and try and play smarter. Hopefully I'll put myself in that position again, and I'll do a better job.
Question: When a good free throw shooting team struggles, the common belief is it's nerves. Do you believe that? Is it contagious? Do you discuss it? How do you cure it?
Durant: We've just got to make them next game. I wouldn't say it's nerves because we miss a free throw, and then hit a big three after that or get a big stop and then hit a lay up. I don't know, man. We've just got to do a better job next game. Hopefully we make all of our free throws. We've missed, I think, 20 something in the last three games. So we've got to do a way better job at the free throw line. We're getting great opportunities. First game didn't really hurt us too much, but the last two hurt us pretty badly. If we get those opportunities again to shoot free throws, we've got to knock them in.
Question: Coach Brooks said that you've all watched your five fouls from last night over and over again. What do you take away from each one of those?
Durant: Well, a few of them I didn't think were fouls. But that's how the cards are dealt. I've just got to deal with it. You know, I've just got to watch and see how I can stay out of foul trouble, but that's not the whole game. I've just got to play my game, not worry about the officiating or what they do because they're going to make mistakes. Everybody does it. We're all human. So I can't really concern myself with that. I've never been a guy that complains about it or gets mad at a ref for making a call, so I've just got to play through it and be myself, and whatever happens happens. I'm going to leave everything out there.
Question: The game switched when you went to the bench with five and a half minutes left in the third quarter. Can you talk about your emotions sitting there having to watch it, knowing you weren't going to get back in until the fourth quarter? Did they have to seatbelt you in? What were you going through on the bench?
Durant: I didn't want to come out of the game, but I knew that it was going to be tough for Coach to play me with four fouls. But I think I looked at the tape, it was 5:45 to go in the third, and Coach took me out. I didn't want to come out, but it's tough to play a guy with four fouls in the third. I had to sit there, and I believe in my teammates. Fish had a big four point play right after that, and then we fouled the two three point shooters, and missed the five free throws and missed a few lay ins. It felt like things weren't going our way.
But that's a part of playing basketball, man. It's fight through adversity and fight through the tough times, and I think we did that and gave ourselves a chance to win, but unfortunately we didn't. We've got to be ready for a tough Game 4.
Question: I wanted to ask you, you've had your moments in the fourth quarters throughout this playoff and also in this series. To not have the kind of performance that people are accustomed to, how much do you internalize that, or do you just kind of move on to the next day?
Durant: Yeah, I move on. I missed a three that went in and out, I missed a few shots going to the rim. But I'm going to shoot until my arm falls off in the fourth. That's what I do. I don't care if I miss it or if I make it. I believe in myself. I really don't care what people say on the outside or how many points I post in the fourth or what big players have done in the past. All I do is worry about myself. I'm going to keep doing what I do. I've got 100 percent confidence in myself that I can do it, and when the fourth quarter comes around next time, I'm going to be as aggressive as I can.
Question: What was it LeBron did to you in the fourth quarter? What changed in the fourth quarter?