Put yourself in a coach’s shoes for a second. Your star player just doesn’t look like himself tonight. He’s missing everything, clearly an off-night. Do you tell him to stop? Or maybe even put him on the bench for the night?
That’s what people are debating after Oklahoma City Thunder superstar Kevin Durant finished a horrendous night shooting 7 of 33 in the team’s 85-84 loss to the Dallas Mavericks in Game 2. Durant’s 26 missed shots is a career high and ties Michael Jordan for the most misses in a postseason game in NBA history.
“Just missed ‘em. Just missed ‘em,” said Durant after the game. “Everything looked good for me. Coach drew up some good plays. Teammates set great screens. Russell [Westbrook] delivered the ball perfect. It’s on me after that. I’ve just got to make ‘em next game.”
At least he has good company, I guess. Jordan has held that record only since 1997.
So, now the question is, should head coach Billy Donovan have stepped in and told Durant to pass it around a little more, or maybe even bench his best player?
“Just one of those night for him,” said Donovan. “Probably throughout his career, he hasn’t had very many of them. I thought he worked to get open. I thought he worked to get shots. I think everybody is used to him making them, but it was one of those nights…I have all the confidence in the world in Kevin shooting the basketball, and even though he was struggling—I think at one point I saw in the stat sheet he was 5-for-23—I was never going to tell him not to shoot. He’s a guy that can turn it on pretty quickly and get on a roll.”
Durant has been known to heat up quickly, and he did have a clutch three towards the end of the game to bring the Thunder within one, but if you tie the NBA postseason record for missed shots you’ve probably gone too far.
Maybe KD should have sensed he was off and spread the ball a bit more. Maybe Donovan should have told him something. Or maybe we should just wait and see how he bounces back in Game 3.