Thunder Roll But Durant Limps Into All-Star Break
By Randy Renner
The Thunder started fast, never trailed, led by as many as 22 and cruised past the red hot Memphis Grizzlies 105-89 Wednesday night to go into the All-Star break on a high note.
But as we've seen during what has been a snakebit season so far, every bit of good news seems to be tarnished with some bad.
Kevin Durant led all scorers with 26 points and an efficient 9-for-15 shooting night but by the fourth quarter Durant seemed to be in considerable pain and had an obvious limp as he tried to get up and down the court.
"I'm sure everybody in the building noticed him limping," Reggie Jackson said after the game. "He's the franchise player and we need him."
Durant had his right shoe off and an ice wrap around his foot while he sat on the bench early in the fourth quarter but he came back out and played another few minutes as the Thunder held off a mini rally from Memphis.
Head coach Scott Brooks tried to downplay the situation as much as possible.
"He's a little sore, his right foot is sore, but that's part of the process. I think he's going to be fine."
The soreness is related to the surgery Durant had to repair a Jones fracture to the little toe on his right foot.
"We're keeping up with the imaging process, we're monitoring him very closely. so far all the MRIs and X-rays have come back clean," Brooks said.
Still it's pretty concerning, considering how this season has gone, to have your superstar limping so badly he's not able to make it all the way down court on a fast break.
Brooks said he, Durant and the medical staff will have a discussion about whether KD plays in this weekend's All-Star Game or opts out to rest his foot further.
The Thunder don't have another game until a week frkm Thursday when Dallas comes to town.
As far as the game against the Grizzlies is concerned it was a breathtaking performance, especially in the first half where the Thunder totally dominated play and frustrated the Grizz (who had won 14 of their previous 16 games) on both ends of the floor.
The Thunder held Memphis to just 37.2 percent shooting and at halftime starters Mark Gasol, Jeff Green, Mike Conley and Courtney Lee were just 5-for-25. Zach Randolph was the only starter doing much of anything at that point.
The Thunder go into the break having won five of their last six and with both Phoenix and New Orleans losing over the last couple of days OKC is now all alone in ninth place and just a half game behind the Suns for the eighth spot in the Western Conference.