The constant disconnect on the court with the Thunder, particularly on the offensive end, began to wear on Durant mentally as early as their second season together, league sources told ESPN. Throughout his OKC tenure, Durant asked for more ball movement. At times, it looked like the Thunder might have turned the corner, but it was never sustained.
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On sheer talent alone, Durant’s union with Westbrook instantly catapulted the Thunder to being one of the league¡¯s best teams. But when going against a team with supreme talent and discipline, they were overmatched.
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Durant desired continuity and teammates willing to sacrifice for the betterment of the team. After nine seasons with the franchise, he wasn¡¯t convinced that would ever occur.
Referees assessed Hield a flagrant foul two for grabbing Cousins by the junk while fighting over a screen with just under three minutes remaining in the first half. It is unclear whether it was intentional or inadvertent, but Boogie immediately demanded a technical foul be called on the Pelicans rookie after the mishap.
It was the first time Hield had been assessed a flagrant or technical foul this season. New Orleans coach Alvin Gentry nearly got tossed with his guard after giving officials a mouthful following the call.
A Knicks official had been discussing a potential reunion with Sprewell for months but the timing of his appearance coming so close to the Oakley incident appeared not to be coincidental. Dolan’s handling of the Oakley incident, including the suggestion that Oakley had a drinking problem, had drawn wide criticism.