Thursday, April 28, 2011

Legendary Durant Performance Paces Thunder Win

KD: Fire in his belly,
ice water in his veins
Paced by what likely will become a legendary professional basketball play-off performance by the remarkable Kevin Durant, the Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Denver Nuggets 100-97 Wednesday night to advance to the second round of the NBA playoffs.

Durant's star quality never shone brighter than in the closing minutes of the always-close game five that saw multiple lead changes and sometimes-less-than-stellar play by the Thunder.

The Oklahoman's Darnell Mayberry reported Durant's heroics thus:

In the five minutes prior, Durant had just strung together what will go down as his finest playoff performance yet.
Durant scored 16 of his game-high 41 points in the final period, breaking the Nuggets' back with a series of pull-up and step-back jumpers. He turned a nine-point deficit with 3 1/2 minutes to play into an historic three-point win.
“A great player got hot,” (Denver Coach George) Karl said.
The turning point came when Durant stepped into a pull-up 3-pointer. It splashed straight through the net. It lifted the Thunder within 91-85 and pumped life into a crowd and team that were both growing listless.
“I was off balance and it went it,” Durant said. “That kind of pushed me over the top.”
The final three minutes was the sort of stuff that legends are made of.
After Russell Westbrook split a pair of free throws, Durant drilled another pull-up jumper that cut Denver's lead to three. Then Durant took advantage of a Nuggets double team and found James Harden all alone in the left corner for a 3-pointer that tied it at 91-all.

Bit by bit, Durant began picking apart Denver.

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