Kevin Durant hopes to not follow in the footsteps of Dirk Nowitzki, who won the MVP in 2007 when the Mavericks were upset by the Warriors in the opening round. (Richard Rowe/Getty Images)
In a rather bold -- perhaps cold -- move on Thursday, The Oklahoman called out the star of the city's NBA franchise on the day of a possible season-ending loss by putting a picture of Kevin Durant beneath the above-the-fold headline, "Mr. Unreliable."
In his column, Berry Tramel writes that Durant, once "Mister Automatic," is now "unreliable."
Durant went to the foul line three times – and made just one of two on all three trips, including a miss after Crawford’s interruption, when the Thunder trailed 100-99 with 27.5 seconds left in overtime, a score that held up at the end. For six years, Durant has shot foul shots on a string. Mister Automatic. Now he’s unreliable.
Upon closer inspection, that missed free throw could in fact be attributed at least in part to referee Joey Crawford's icing of Durant in Game 5 this week. Durant is no doubt struggling this series against a stellar Grizzlies defense, which has assigned two-time All-NBA defensive swingman Tony Allen to blanket Durant for most of the series.
A subsequent post from Oklahoman sports editor Mike Sherman on the publication's website expressed regret over the headline. Sherman wrote that the headline "missed the mark."
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Durant, widely expected to be named NBA MVP this week, is shooting 88.2 percent from the charity stripe for his career, and 87.3 percent during the regular season, but went just 3-for-6 from the line in Game 5.
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