The Moore American

Sports

June 4, 2014

Tough decisions ahead for Thunder after conference finals loss

OKLAHOMA CITY — Kevin Durant says he’s at peace. A day after Oklahoma City saw its season come to a dramatic and sudden end, the league’s Most Valuable player had no regrets for his team or himself.

“It can always be better, but I left everything out there, every game,” Durant said. “I sacrificed for my teammates, so I can live with the results.”

The results were losing four out of six games to the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Finals. It’s the second straight year the talented squad has been unable to make it back to the NBA Finals.

The players and coaches who spoke Sunday during exit interviews refused to look at 2013-14 as a lost season.

“We won 59 games, we won our division and improved in a lot of areas,” coach Scott Brooks said. “There’s no question that last night was a disappointing finish to our season, but we’ll look back and know we had a great year. We had a lot of great things that took place this past season. With that being said, there’s a lot of things we have to get better with, myself included.”

One of the areas the Thunder will have to strengthen heading into next season is its bench. In its final game Saturday against the Spurs, the reserves were outscored 51-5.

Brooks said that number is misleading because he shortened the rotation drastically and moved Reggie Jackson into the starting lineup, but both of those alterations stemmed from a lack of consistent productivity from the bench.

The Thunder rotation is expected to see some drastic changes during the offseason. Kendric Perkins has one year left on his deal, which makes him a prime trade target due to his expiring contract. Even though the team has known only postseason success since he’s arrived, Perkins knows his time could be up.

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