x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Hollins hails heart of Durant

Oklahoma City Thunder face the Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference finals tonight hoping for another repeat performance from Kevin Durant.

Oklahoma City Thunder face the Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference finals tonight hoping for another repeat performance from Kevin Durant.

The Thunder forward followed his worst play-off show with one of his best on Sunday night, taking his team from the brink of elimination to the finals.

Durant scored 39 points for his best offensive outing of the series as the Thunder closed out Memphis with a 105-90 win.

"Durant came back after a sub-par game and showed the heart of a champion," Lionel Hollins, the Memphis coach, said. Durant had the lowest-scoring game of his post-season career in Game 6. "That wasn't me at all. I was so upset with myself that I kind of let my guys down by not playing my game," he said.

"I wasn't aggressive at all. This game, that's what I told myself: 'Come in aggressive, start the game off aggressive.'"

With Oklahoma City's season on the line, the two-time All-Star, who led the NBA in scoring the past two seasons was back at his best.

He heated up in the second quarter, put the Thunder in control late in the third, then put it away with a pair of two-handed slams in the fourth.

"Durant is a special player, one of the best players in the NBA," said Memphis star Zach Randolph, who was limited to an inefficient 17 points and 10 rebounds. "The kid is a gym-rat, he works hard. He's one of my favourite players. You've got to give him kudos and give him respect.

"You see what he does night in and night out and he's just relentless."

Western Conference schedule

Oklahoma City v Dallas

Today: at Dallas
Thursday: at Dallas
Saturday: at Oklahoma City
May 23: at Oklahoma City
May 25: at Dallas-x
May 27: at Oklahoma City-x
May 29: at Dallas-x

x-if necessary