Originally written on Project Spurs  |  Last updated 3/12/13
Los-angeles-lakers
Kevin Durant finished with 26 points against the defensive duo of San Antonio Spurs' Kawhi Leonard and Stephen Jackson. The lanky swingmen consistently hounded the NBA's defending three-time scoring champion, forcing him into the least efficient areas of the court -- particularly in spots where Tim Duncan and Tiago Splitter could alter the 6-foot-9 forward's shot.  It was a victory, nonetheless.   Much of Durant's points resulted from the foul line, a place he reached 11 times in the Oklahoma City Thunder's 93-105 loss to the San Antonio Spurs. Durant, the league's most proficient foul shooter, connecting on 90.8 percent of his freebies prior to the game, didn't miss once. The rest of his buckets were hard earned -- Leonard and Jackson collapsed effectively, allowing only one 3-point attempt.   Gregg Popovich, having witnessed the Spurs' third-ranked defense allow 136 points to the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night, is happy with the defensive effort. Durant didn't reach his normal scoring average and Russell Westbrook jacked up 27 shots -- the Spurs goaded him into many inefficient mid-range shots -- to just score 25 points. The Thunder supporting cast accounted for the remaining 42 points while shooting 40.5 percent from the field.    "Kevin's a great player and you got it exactly right, you just try to make it difficult for him," Popovich said.   "I thought both Jack (Stephen Jackson) and Kawhi (Leonard) worked very hard and did a good a job as I've seen anybody do, but he's still going to score," continued Popovich after the Spurs won over the Thunder. "It's just the way it is, but you can't let it bother you. You've just got to keep making him work and hope that all the shots don't fall."   In three meetings against the Spurs this season, the Thunder are averaging 94.7 points per game -- a precipitous drop from their season-average of 106.7 points.    Leonard and Jackson are tenacious, intelligent defenders but they cannot realistically impede Durant every game. Nor will Westbrook miss 16 shots on most nights, even if his affinity for the mid-range shot will never wane. Oklahoma City is too talented, too athletic and leveraging their prodigious gifts into offensive production isn't usually difficult. Plus, three games is a small sample size.    But it is an encouraging sign. And Popovich will take it.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Harbaugh denies using F-word in Jay Gruden exchange

Urban Meyer: Both J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones will play

Legal expert: NFL's reported offer to Brady 'really ridiculous'

Seguin called out by former Maple Leafs CEO for partying

No suspension for Sarkisian was made in best interest of USC

Jim Tomsula disputes report Jarryd Hayne has made 49ers

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Brady case judge once vacated CBA violation ruling

Why no. 4 Baylor will and won't win the National Championship

Is D'Angelo Russell in over his head?

Percy Harvin voices support for Tyrod Taylor

Richardson pleads not guilty to traffic, resisting arrest charges

Andrew Luck tried not to watch Super Bowl, was still ‘salty’

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The Opening Drive: Jamal Anderson warns UM fans before heading to Salt Lake City

Best and worst MLB players in August

RG3 blames intern for liking Instagram post trashing owner

Four most surprising roster cuts from NFL teams

Raiders cut Trent Richardson

Caroline Wozniacki smoking cover of ‘Rhapsody’

Everett Golson named FSU's starting QB

Urban Meyer won't announce QB before season

Teammates relieved RG3 was benched?

Five NFL teams that should trade for Robert Griffin III

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker