2014 NBA Playoffs: Second seeded Thunder face elimination

Kevin Durant is at a crossroads tonight - Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Who would have thought that the Oklahoma City Thunder would be facing elimination in the first round...with the presumptive MVP in tow

Kevin Durant has not enjoyed a good series against the Memphis Grizzlies. He can't seem to get away from the pesky Tony Allen who fights over screens and seems to be attached to the presumptive NBA MVP like glue. Durant's sub-par performance in Game 5 versus the Grizzlies lead to a very incendiary column by a a newspaper columnist in Oklahoma City (ironically owned by Clay Bennet's wife)

Essentially, the column read (rightly) about how Allen seems to be in Durant's head and Durant has had free throw issues this series (Joey Crawford icing him aside). However, obscuring those things ... was the headline written in The Oklahoman newspaper calling Durant "Mr. Unreliable". So once again, newspaper columnists not writing their own headline came back to bite them. However, in all the hubub and righteous indignation of the headline (which was horrible) what is lost is ... yes...Tony Allen IS in Kevin Durant's head, and if something doesn't change, fast, then the 59 win OKC Thunder will be heading home with another year wasted of KD's prime.

Largely, the Thunder's biggest issue is their coach Scott Brooks and his rather vanilla approach to offense. Russell Westbrook and Durant are left to create, while ball movement is minimal. There is the occasional Durant and Serge Ibaka pick and roll. Against a good/great defensive team like the Memphis Grizzlies (which more credit should be given too by the way) they will feast on your tendencies and make you even more one dimensional, which is what they have done. It's a tribute to the talent of Westbrook and Durant that they have been able to overcome the placid underwhelming coaching of Brooks.

If Durant has an epic game tonight, is that enough to lift the Thunder to victory in hostile territory in Memphis tonight? Who knows. If Durant is able to lift his squad tonight it likely will add to his legend. If he doesn't, he will likely have a Dirk Nowitzki moment ... picking up his MVP trophy after a disappointing and upsetting post season.

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