When Durant initially heard reports of a tornado near Oklahoma City, he didn’t pay them much mind. A veteran of the area now, he knows twisters can be a regular occurrence this time of year. It quickly became apparent that this one was different, and Durant could barely watch it all unfold.
“It hit so close to home,” he said. “It was tough to see.”
And it made the Thunder’s early exit from the playoffs sting that much more. With Russell Westbrook out because of a knee injury, the Thunder were beaten by the Memphis Grizzlies in the Western Conference semifinals, a disappointing finish for a team that advanced to the NBA Finals a year ago.
“I wish I could’ve done a better job for my team to stay in the playoffs because of course basketball and sporting events bring everyone together,” Durant said. “It takes your mind off it for a few hours.”
The Thunder boast one of the most loyal and passionate fan bases in the league. Durant averaged 30.8 points, 9.0 rebounds and 6.3 assists in the playoffs, but the rest of his teammates struggled to step up and fill Westbrook’s void.
“There’s some part of me wishing I could’ve played better for my team to stay in the playoffs,” Durant said. “Hopefully they get back on their feet. It’s so tough. Praying for the families. I’m feeling for them.”