The future becomes the present in OKC.
by Chris O’Leary/@olearychris
Maybe we’re looking too hard, wanting something to be there when it’s just not. Maybe in an age of hyper-instant gratification we’re too quick to attach #EPIC to something that’s only memorable or good but not great. Maybe we’re just suckers for drama when the stage isn’t even big enough yet for the final act. The Playoffs, after all, are still in their infancy. Even the jungle’s lion has outright said that he’s only had breakfast to this point. So maybe we’re jumping the gun, this early in the season’s final race.
Maybe I say maybe too much.
From the ankle-defying performances of Kobe Bryant and Derrick Rose, the emotional efforts of Brandon Roy, to the ri-z-iculous play of Zach Randolph and the takeover abilities of Dwyane Wade, we’ve been spoiled in the first series of weeks that it takes to play out the first round of the Playoffs. When you’re seeing great games at this time of year, it’s easy to get caught up in a moment and easy to want to look to pad up your favorite player’s resume.
Or, maybe not.
Throw in five rebounds and an absolutely HUGE blocked shot down the stretch and remember that this is the first series that Durant’s team has ever won. KD has done a lot in his four seasons in the NBA, but Wednesday night was the most important game of his career. Before talk of the Thunder still learning, or of a hiccup in the Next Team’s progress, or of being in a power struggle with Russell Westbrook could have the possibility of becoming an issue, KD set everyone straight with a team leader/franchise player/MVP performance to take his team to the next level.
And he might have gotten away with an over and back call once, maybe twice in the process. Fate (Steve Javie, Zach Zarba and Bill Kennedy) would have it that it didn’t happen and the story was able to unfold the way it did.
Unlike Kobe, there is no arguable methodology to KD’s footwear choices. Two colorways of the KD III: one for home, one for the road. But the shoes and the process suit the man. Attention grabbing and distinct, but affable in a way that Kobe and LeBron aren’t or can’t be anymore.
It’s either an underdog Memphis team or a San Antonio squad that will have crawled back from a flat line performance in Round 1 that await the Thunder. Durant and his teammates will say they’re not looking past the second round, but they’ll be the only ones. The realization of youth and talent in OKC could strike change through the League. That change started last night and it could run well into June.