Durant leaned his face in his left hand, expressionless and mostly motionless. Westbrook stared forward at nothing in particular, elbows on his knees.
They watched, helplessly, the whole fourth quarter from the seat as the Thunder took a 124-92 Game 1 beating at the hands of the San Antonio Spurs.
What was going through their heads? Rage? Humiliation? Discouragement? Disappointment?
“I am not telling you,” Durant said.
“Because it is over with,” he clarified. “Move on. We find out what we’ve got to do better and merely move past it. No emotions that are insane. It’s not like we were yelling at each other in the locker room after the game and upset. That is not going to make things better. We have only got to go out there and play. So, no emotions.”
Kevin Durant made just 6 of 15 shots for 16 points in Oklahoma City’s 32-point loss to the Spurs on Saturday. Chris Covatta/NBAE via Getty Images
The Thunder appeared unprepared and unfocused, with Westbrook saying they lacked energy, intensity and urgency. In this case, they appear to fit, although those are the typical postgame crutches players have a tendency to lean on when a team is blown out by 32. The Thunder were rattled, and never reacted. Durant noticed that the game went so fast it made it difficult to respond. The other thing that moved rapidly: the scoreboard, in the wrong direction.
The Thunder had four days off to prepare for this Game 1, and now they’ve one sort out what went wrong and to go back to the drawing board.
“I don’t think watching from the sidelines — I’ll watch the tape tonight — I am sitting there saying, ‘We can not solve any of these things,’ ” Thunder coach Billy Donovan said.
Here’s the scary part: Game 1 might’ve seemed like an outlier, an unusual playoff beatdown where one team snowballed impetus into a blowout that was ample, but it really wasn’t that distinct. The Thunder have never played well in San Antonio. They have conquered the Spurs in six matches at the AT&T Center in the postseason — Match 5 in 2012, when James Harden hit a dagger step-back 3 in the final minute. The typical margin of those six losses: 25.1 points. The last four postseason trips? The closest game was a 17-point loss.
And that is the harsh truth they face. If they are somehow going to turn this series around and improve, they have to win at least once in this building, a fact about which the Thunder are not in denial.
“They won one game on their home court,” Westbrook said. ” And now we have got to get ready and try and steal one here.”
Snitch is an appropriate word, because it’s difficult to picture any other manner the Thunder do it. They have shown over the 82-game program they aren’t disciplined enough to hang with the Spurs continuous offensive churn. They lose their principles, they most concerning, and get mismatched in transition, they get lazy. The Spurs punish that type of insolence that is defensive with their pitiless precision.
The Thunder’s shot lies in their stars. The reason Oklahoma City was seen by some as a legitimate danger to the 67-win Spurs, a team that was 40-1 at home this season, was because of the overwhelming superiority of Durant and Westbrook. Much of that in Game 1 flashed as they were left spectators to the Spurs’ machine.
Durant wouldn’t divulge, so there is a lot of mind- reading going on about how he felt following Game 1. If a free agent after the season, Durant, is forced to endure three more like that, he might have a whole other thing on his head.