By MICHAEL KINNEY
Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant is featured in this week’s Sports Illustrated. On the cover, it has a photo of him taking a jumper. While that is unspectacular, it’s the quotes posted around the photo that have caught the attention of Thunder fans.
“I’ve been second my whole life,” Durant is quoted in SI. “I was the second best player in high school. I was the second pick in the draft. I’ve been second in the MVP voting three times. I came in second in the finals. I’m tired of being second. I’m not going to settle for that. I’m done with it.”
When Durant was asked about the Sports Illustrated article Tuesday after practice, he stood by the comments.
“Of course I’m tired of being second,” Durant said. “I’ve been second since I was 16 years old. Everybody loves to be No. 1.”
In the SI article, Durant also addressed his relationship with LeBron James. Some have criticized him for being buddies with the man who beat him in last year’s finals and who he’s fighting for NBA superiority. They have complained that takes away from Durant’s aggressiveness when the Heat and Thunder face off.
“I’m not taking it easy on (LeBron),” Durant stated. “Don’t you know I’m trying to destroy the guy every time I go on the court?”
Linsanity grounded: Playing in his first playoff game ever, Houston’s Jeremy Lin didn’t have the type of debut he wanted Sunday. The second-year point guard shot 1 for 7 from the field and scored 4 points to go along with four assists and four turnovers.
“I thought every one of my shots were in,” Lin said. “I actually believed that every single one was in. I don’t know if I was a little too excited, but it won’t happen every game.”
Lin’s coach is not concerned about the poor start. Kevin Mchale expects Lin to rebound in Game 2 tonight.
“I think for Jeremy, a little bit of it is you just have to go out there, relax and just play,” McHale said. “I think he was a little bit hyped up. He just needs to relax and go play. It was his first playoff game. I think you just have to go through that and experience it. Jeremy has had a lot of very good bounce-back games.”
Days off: While NBA fans were looking forward to the beginning of the playoffs, not all of them are happy with the way the first round is formatted. Due to broadcast concerns, the opening round is two weeks long with two days of rest in between games at times.
“Whether I like it or not, I think it’s been part of the NBA playoffs for the last several years,” Thunder guard Derek Fisher said. “We are in the first round because there are 16 teams playing. There are only so many games you can put on TV each night. You get the two days in between. It catches up and it balances out. You try to make the most of it. There is not as much carry over from one game.”