Kevin Durant received a huge ovation from the Quicken Loans Arena faithful on Sunday. It was the loudest most supportive collection of cheers I've heard for any opposing player this season outside of a seven foot bald guy from Lithuania. It didn't surprise me though. We here in Cleveland have viewed since the summertime Kevin Durant to be the anti-LeBron James type of superstar, and we therefore openly root for him as a result.
I'll revisit this topic later, but the reasons for this basically include the fact that he's loyal to the small market team that drafted him, he hits clutch shots when the game is on the line, he's a good guy in the community, says intelligent things, and he's allowed the organization to add players and build around him by sigining an extension. You know, things that LeBron James didn't and doesn't do.
I was curious to see if he realized that we thought of him like that, and expected the reception he received from the Cavaliers fans during the intros. I had planned on asking him both of those questions, but only successfully executed the latter one.
At the 2:37 mark in the video above I asked Durant:
We're you surprised at all by the reception you got from the Cavs fans?
To which Durant responded:
I was, I was, it was pretty cool. I really appreciate it, and I just gotta keep doing things the right way I guess."
If you watch the video you can hear me initially try to get that question in at the 42 second mark and get completely owned by the more seasoned Thunder beat reporter who kept his dialogue going with the Durantula instead.
That was in a failed attempt to follow-up on Durant's initial comments about the atmosphere inside the Q this time around for a team that is 12-53 as opposed to his trip here last season.
On that subject Durant said the following:
"I was still shocked when they called out the starting five and it was packed. Throughout most of the game it was packed, so the fans still come out and support.
But of course it's still a little different, not having basically their original team. Antawn Jamison isn't playing, Mo Williams of course, LeBron of course, Varejao, Big Z, so they're a whole different team now and it's a little different.
They still support the team, and I still enjoy coming here and playing. And that team over there has been playing hard ever since the beginning of the season, so they're gonna turn it around."
Then I get owned right after that, which is kinda funny.
But Durant also talks about adding Kendrick Perkins to the line-up in the coming games as well at the the 1:22 mark:
"He's been around for a couple weeks so he understands everything and he's excited to get going. I'm sure he could play now, but instead of risking anything they want to wait until he's a hundred percent. So we'll be excited to finally get a chance to run up and down the floor with him.
He's a veteran so he knows what he needs to do. He's not going to go out there and try to get 30 and 15 every night, He's gonna finish strong, finish down low, and rebound. He knows his role, and that's the best thing about him. It's going to be an easy transition for us."
Kevin Durant scored 19 points on 6 of 12 from the floor in 29 minutes of work. He grabbed a few boards, had two assists, and wasn't really even needed in the Thunder's twenty point drubbing of the Cavaliers 95-75 which wasn't even that close.
And for what it's worth, I didn't know who it was exactly but somebody on the Thunder squad yelled out to Durant on his way out of the locker room:
"Hey later Barney"
I'm thinking because of the all purple jacket he was wearing. Durant just looked over and started cracking up laughing in response.
Because he's cool like that.