After years wasting away on an island — the subject of so many jokes about his hero ball approach to basketball — Dion Waiters is swimming to freedom during Oklahoma City's playoff run. In a remarkable turnaround, the Thunder guard has gone from laughingstock to vital cog in the Thunder's success.
So, it appears OKC star Kevin Durant is making sure Waiters doesn't get too big a head about it all.
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In the second quarter of Game 2 in the Western Conference finals against Golden State, with the Thunder trailing by four, a Russell Westbrook steal found its way to Waiters on a fast break and Durant behind the Warriors' defense. Except, Waiters didn't see Durant until it was too late — for the easy layup, at least.
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Ultimately, Durant curled under the basket, finally received his pass from Waiters and drilled a fadeaway jumper with a much higher degree of difficulty. The bucket gave Durant 14 of OKC's 21 third-quarter points and cut Golden State's lead to 43-41, forcing a Steve Kerr timeout from the Warriors' sideline.
A still smiling Durant turned to Waiters and appeared to say, "Hey, man, f--- you. Hey, f--- you. Pass me the motherf---ing ball." And then bumped him butt to butt, because this is how they celebrate, apparently.
It sure seems like this is a playful exchange between two former top-five picks, now teammates for the past year and a half, but it's also a not-so-subtle way of Durant reminding Waiters of his role on the team. The former is the 2014 NBA MVP and the latter is a reclamation project from the Cleveland Cavaliers.
For the record, Durant finished with 29 points on 11-of-18 shooting (and one assist against eight turnovers) while the rest of his Thunder buddies combined to shoot 40 percent in the 118-91 loss.
"They were sending three guys," Durant told reporters. "I was just trying to make the right pass, and I was turning the ball over, playing into the crowd, so maybe I just gotta shoot over three people."
Yeah, so we're guessing any expletives exchanged between teammates after Game 2 weren't so playful.
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