Kevin Durant/Photo courtesy of Oklahoma City Thunder, NBA.com
The Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday announced that reigning MVP forward Kevin Durant is out for the season and will not be able to resume playing basketball for four to six months because he will need bone graft surgery on his right foot.
“Dr. (Martin) O’Malley will perform the bone graft surgery early next week in New York,” Thunder general manager Sam Presti said in a statement on the team’s website. “He has extensive bone grafting experience amongst athletes and has been consulting on the case throughout. Kevin will miss the remainder of the 2014-15 season and is expected to return to basketball activities in the next four to six months.”
Oklahoma City (41-31) is currently in line for the eighth and final playoff spot available in the Western Conference. The Thunder in 2013-14 eliminated the Clippers in six games in the conference semifinals.
The Clippers on Sunday were routed 131-108 at Oklahoma City. That didn’t stop Chris Paul from staring down OKC’s Kevin Durant after making a jumper. Durant responded by saying, “You’re down 20 now, homie.” Check it out:
DeAndre Jordan had a big block down the stretch Thursday/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers
– This may have been just the first game of the 2014-15 season, but the idea that the Clippers had difficulty putting away OKC when the Thunder were missing reigning MVP Kevin Durant and guard Reggie Jackson, is kind of scary going forward; that’s not to mention that guard Russell Westbrook played only eight minutes because he fractured a finger in the second quarter.
– The Clippers had a 10-point lead midway through the fourth quarter and nearly lost it when the Thunder’s Sebastian Telfair hit a 3-pointer to pull OKC within 89-88. Again, that this would happen when the Clippers are basically at full strength and the Thunder were at about two-thirds of that, is head-shaking.
– One of the things the Clippers were so poor at during the preseason – rebounding – was again at work in this one. The Thunder outrebounded the Clippers 47-33.
– The Clippers shot 72 percent (18 of 25) from the free-throw line. That’s not terrific. But Blake Griffin and J.J. Redick were 4-for-4 in the waning moments, and the Clippers will need that kind of clutch free-throw shooting all season because they figure to be in a lot of close games with the league’s better teams.
– The Clippers also were clutch down the stretch defensively. DeAndre Jordan blocked Telfair’s driving shot attempt with under 10 seconds to play. Not long before that, Jamal Crawford stole the ball away from the Thunder, preventing them a chance to take the lead just seconds after Telfair hit that 3-pointer to get his team within a point.
Founded in 1889, The Oklahoman is the largest daily newspaper in Oklahoma. But it took a lot of heat for its headline after Game 5 of the Oklahoma City Thunder’s first-round Western Conference playoff series against Memphis when it came with this headline: “Mr. Unreliable.” It was in reference to Kevin Durant, who, of course, was named league MVP on Tuesday. In a 100-99 Game 5 loss to Memphis that gave the Grizzlies a 3-2 series lead, Durant scored 26 points, but shot just 10 of 24 from the field. An 88.2-percent career free-throw shooter, he made just 3 of 6 from the line.
The newspaper apologized for the headline, and it has redeemed itself the past two days with some real catchy ones. After Chris Paul made 8 of 9 3-pointers in the Clippers’ 122-105 Game 1 rout of OKC at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City on Monday in the Western Conference semifinals, the headline in the next day’s paper – “CPTHREE’D” – was awesome.
Then in Wednesday’s editions, the day after Durant gave a very warm speech thanking the organization, his teammates, coaches and especially his loved ones upon accepting his MVP award, the headline – “All in the family,” also was outstanding.
Kevin Durant on Tuesday received the MVP award for his terrific play during the regular NBA season. He gave a speech that will never be forgotten here in Oklahoma City, where Wednesday night Durant’s Thunder will host the Clippers in Game 2 of their Western Conference semifinals series.
Durant talked about all of his teammates. One by one, he let them and the rest of the world know how he feels about them. He was as classy as classy can be.
He shared the love he has for his family. When he got to his mother, Wanda, he told her that she was “the real MVP” because of all she had done for him and his brother during some real rough times growing up, when she would go to bed hungry so her two sons wouldn’t have to.
During much of this heartfelt expression, Durant was moved to tears. In a day and age when such demonstrations are looked upon as maudlin because much of society has become hard and would rather hate than love, it was an absolute breath of fresh air.
Kudos to Durant.
By the time his address was over, one had to figure that Durant had pumped some adrenaline into his teammates, even if that wasn’t what he set out to do. It will be interesting to see if it will play a role in Wednesday’s game. The Thunder were routed by the Clippers in Game 1 Monday at Chesapeake Energy Arena. A loss in Game 2 would be devastating to OKC.
Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday was named Most Valuable Player in the NBA, the league announced.
Durant received 119 first-place votes and tallied 1,232 points from a panel of 124 voters consisting of sportswriters and broadcasters. An NBA.com MVP fan vote also was rendered, making for 125 total ballots. LeBron James (891 points, 6 first-place votes) of the Miami Heat was second and Blake Griffin of the Clippers (434 points) third.