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June 12, 2012

Kevin Durant

Russell Westbrook


Oklahoma City – 105
Miami – 94

Q.  Russ, can you just talk about the difference between the first and the second half, your play?
RUSSELL WESTBROOK:  Honestly, I think we just came out with a lot more intensity on the defensive end, made them feel us a little bit, did a great job of being aggressive on the defensive end, and that led to easy points offensively.

Q.  What about your individual frustration you could see in the first half?
RUSSELL WESTBROOK:  Just frustrated in myself, know I could have played harder.  And our coaching staff and other guys on the team just emphasized once I started playing harder everybody else will follow, and that's my job.

Q.  How much poise did you guys show going down 13 and then making that big run to push forward and win there?
KEVIN DURANT:  Well, those guys, they came out on fire.  They were passing the ball well, knocking down shots.  We just wanted to continue to keep playing.  It's a long game, and every time our coach was just saying play harder, play harder, and that's what we did.  It's a game of runs, man, so you just have to make sure that every time we got a good shot on the defensive end, we've just got to contest up and just play hard.  We've got to continue to do that.

Q.  It looked like in the first half you played a solid game.  You had six assists, one turnover, you just couldn't get a shot to fall.  Can you talk about how you didn't let the frustration of missing shots affect you too much?
RUSSELL WESTBROOK:  I just know I can do a lot of other things other than score the ball for this team.  Like you said, six assists was great, moving the ball well.  Just wasn't knocking down shots.  And for us, we're a defensive team, and I think that's what guys don't realize about this team.  We're defense first, and we play off our defense.

Q.  For both you guys, at what point did it feel like you kind of returned to your comfort zone and being all the hype of the NBA Finals and it started being a normal game?
RUSSELL WESTBROOK:  I'd might have to say at the start of the third quarter.  That's when we started playing our game, started being aggressive, rebounding the ball, just playing Thunder basketball.  I think that's when it started for me.

Q.  Kevin, how much confidence are you guys gaining from each win, each series win?
KEVIN DURANT:  I mean, we're just trying to take it a possession at a time.  You know, this is a tough series.  This level of basketball is the hardest we play, and we just want to take it slow, and take it, like I said, a possession at a time.  Guys got to just continue to believe in themselves.  If we do that as a group, we'll be all right.  Like Russ said, it kind of took us a couple minutes to get the nervousness out of us and the jitters out of it.  We've just got to play our game.
Next game we've got to start a little better because this team is going to come out extremely hard.

Q.  Both Russ and Kevin, can you talk about what this team was able to do in the fourth quarter, whether it's down or whether it's be able to take control of games and start putting teams away?
RUSSELL WESTBROOK:  It's defense, man.  It starts with us being a great defensive team.  Everybody helps each other, does what they're supposed to do in the closing minutes.  That just shows the maturity of this team and where the growth comes in at.

Q.  Talk about Nick Collison a little bit, 8 and 10 tonight, he dropped in a couple of dunks late in the ballgame.  Talk about what he means to this team.
KEVIN DURANT:  He means a lot to us.  He's been sacrificing his body, taking charges all season.  Just playing hard.  He could care less about how many shots he takes or how many rebounds he gets, he's just going to play hard and do what the coaches tell him to do.  He's just a great teammate to have.  We've got to continue to just give him confidence by feeding him down low on those dump‑off passes for dunks and he's going to come back down and give it his all on the defensive end.  We need that from everybody.  Like I said, we've got a long ways to go, we've just got to continue playing.

Q.  Coach Brooks said that you wanted to guard LeBron.  How do you feel that it went?  And did you get tired in any way?  It obviously didn't affect your offense too much, but did you tire late in the game?
KEVIN DURANT:  Well, coach just told me to match up with him early on.  They do such a great job of going small, going big, they can play different ways, and Thabo did a good job of just making it tough on them.  You can't really stop a guy like that, just got to play hard and contest.  For me he got a few lay‑ups, but I've just got to continue to stay in front and play my hardest.  It's a tough match‑up, but I've just got to play with some fire, and we'll see what happens.

Q.  You opened defensively against LeBron and played him most of the game, but LeBron opened against Perkins in the middle.  Did that surprise you initially?  Did that throw you off?  And were you expecting coming into the series that it would be you against him almost constantly?
KEVIN DURANT:  Well, he's such a versatile defender, he can guard one through five, and we used Perk in a lot of screen setting, and they switched a lot of it, and he guarded Russ, he guarded me, he guarded one through five.  You know, I'm not worried about, like I said, the one‑on‑one match‑up, it's just about the team, and he does such a great job of guarding everybody.  We've got to figure out a way to try to get some easy points and just play hard on both ends.  I can't worry about which guy is guarding me, I've just got to play my game.

Q.  Can you talk about the fact that they didn't go as deep as you went?  They played six guys primarily, did that sort of factor into how the game finished out?
RUSSELL WESTBROOK:  I don't know.  I don't think that's a big issue.  Our issue was us playing harder.  You seen that in the second half, and as long as we continue to play hard and play the right way, it gives us an opportunity to win games.

Q.  You talk about Russell, two rebounds away from a triple‑double, how big that rebound was at the end of the third, and how is it you were able to have these monster fourth quarters after attempting only four shots in the middle period?
KEVIN DURANT:  Well, Russ came out, like you said, he wasn't makes his shots early, but he didn't let that get him down.  He just tried to do other things to help us win, 11 assists, eight rebounds.  He's a guy that can come out on the floor and do that for us every night.  He controlled the game on the offensive end.  Like I said, he wasn't making shots, but he was trying to get everybody else involved.  We've got to do a better job of finishing for him.  But he came out and made some big shots for us.  We've got to continue just leaning on each other.  It's a game where everybody is going to have to chip in, and Russ was just making sure everybody did so, and we followed his lead.

Q.  (Inaudible.)
KEVIN DURANT:  Well, I'm not trying to force anything.  For this whole Playoffs, I'm just trying to play my game, be aggressive, and if I see a shot I have to take it, and if I see a pass I have to pass it.  I have to go back tomorrow and watch film and see how I can get better, and hopefully I have a better game, too.

Q.  Russell and Kevin, any theories as to why you would not play hard in the first half at home in Game 1 of the NBA Finals?  Did the six‑day layoff have anything to do with it?
KEVIN DURANT:  I wish I could tell you.  You know, just being in The Finals, we kind of was nervous, I guess.  That's something we can't‑‑ it can't happen next game or the rest of the series.  Just got to come out with a lot of energy, and hopefully we do it next game.  But I really couldn't tell you why.
RUSSELL WESTBROOK:  I don't have an answer for you, either.  You know, I know next game we'll come out and be ready to play and hopefully we'll come out with the win.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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